6.S080: Mechanical Invention through Computation
The final assignment is to (in a group of ~4 people) demonstrate
new mechanical designs and inventive behavior through either
or a combination thereof.
The project emphasis may be chosen according to the particular interests
of the group.
- a physical model,
- an interactive software application,
- a mathematical theorem and/or algorithm,
Student groups will need to prepare a short proposal outlining the
conceptual framework and a concise narrative of their piece, as well as an
implementation strategy for the final project. This proposal should include
project timeline and overall objectives.
For students producing physical pieces proposals should specify
materials, fabrication methods, and strategies for physical actuation,
whether through manual interaction or controlled motorization.
For students producing software pieces, proposals should explain how
they see the application can be used for parametric design of mechanism types,
as well as to facilitate inventive exploration itself.
For students producing mathematical pieces, proposals should describe an
open problem to tackle and some evidence that the problem can be solved.
For example, if you plan to algorithmically design a family of mechanisms,
a natural starting point is to find working examples within this family.
- Pieces should demonstrate real-time, interactive behavior (whether physical, virtual, or mathematical). This behavior should be demonstrated during the final project presentations. Consider this as a live performance!
- Physical pieces can be considered as site-specific installations, or may be movable / free-standing.
- Groups should provide and express the useful application that their piece demonstrates, whether driven by practical concerns, market considerations, or design aesthetics and viewer experience.
- Groups have the choice to use the mechanism types and transformable geometries that are presented within class lectures, or to pursue their own variations. In either case, groups should provide a clear rationale and plan their development process to allow for experimental validation of their underlying concept.