CASSIUS – ‘Punched’ Lampshades

Stephen Williams and Hannes Walter of the Austrian based company FluidForm took individual design to an all new level with CASSIUS – a lamp shade you design for yourself with your fists. A pair of boxing gloves, a sensor enhanced punching bag, some homebrew software, and a 3D printer replaces the traditional hammer and bit in creating this one of a kind personalized lamp.

The heart of the CASSIUS system is the punching bag containing a matrix of 9X7 force sensors that measure the force and position exerted by a blow to the punching bag. On the hardware side, the punching bag is driven by an Arduino board – an open-source electronics prototyping platform, while on the software side, custom software called Formatory collects the information from the sensors.

Arduino is intended for artists, designers, and hobbyists as it is based on a flexible and easy-to-use hardware and software. It has the ability to be used as a stand-alone device or communicate with 3rd party software running on any computer such as FluidForm’s Formatory.

Formatory receives the processed signal via USB using the MIDI protocol. MIDI packets arrive to a processing sketch and saved in a folder while an OpenGL render engine reads these saved files and graphically represents the current state of the punches to the bag.

The basic form is a 150x150x300mm cylinder and that’s about the only similarity between each individual lampshade created with the CASSIUS system. As you punch, a real time view of your own lampshade helps you decide when enough is enough. The collected data is sent to a 3D printer, printing the virtual draft layer by layer using Polyamide (Nylon) Plastic Resin into an exclusive design object that will light your living room in about 3 weeks and will set you back around $1,500.

FluidForm is only one of a growing number of companies such as Shapways, JuJups, Ponoko, and Zapfab, that takes advantage of new technologies to push forward user manufacturing – a growing discipline in design since the introduction of 3D printing.

In the past TFOT covered projects like light-emitting wallpaper, interactive paper, and the mimic wall – all are a twist on everyday items that in conjunction with technology adds that extra thing to our personal environment design.

The system was first presented at the 2006 Salone Satellite in Milan, and lately at the ARS Electronica fair where users actually stepped into the ring and punched their designs. For all those who missed the events, the challenge continues on FluidForm’s website using the virtual punching bag applet they’ve created.

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