My uni project, mentioned in the previous post, is proving to be a bit of a challenge and getting to grips with the whole active forms situation, is puzzling.
One thing that triggered my mind when this project came about was SMART MATERIALS. A bit of boring technical stuff, a smart material is a material that changes it’s appearance when an external stimuli is inputed.
For example, the stimulus can be: heat, light or pressure and the change could be colour, electric power or even shape.
Developed around 50 years ago, smart materials have found their way into some innovative designs and it triggered in my mind because they change form as do active form products (loosely) so hopefully a bit of research into this can trigger some ideas into my current project.
Popular Smart Material Products
1) Photochromic Lenses. Photo = ancient Greek for light. Chromic = ancient Greek for colour. The glasses changes colour when the stimulus, sunlight is shined on it
2) Thermochromic Mood Ring. Thermo = ancient Greek for heat. Chromic = ancient Greek for colour. The ring changes colour when the stimulus, heat changes due to the mood changing (e.g agressive mood = higher temperature)
3) Another application for thermochromic materials can be a thermometer. Used to find if the child/ adult has a high fever when the colour changes to match a high temperature.
MORE SMART MATERIALS!
This type of smart material turns a mechanical stress/ force into electricity or electricity into a force. The mechanical stress can be just a footstep can generate electricity.
This idea has lead to multiple designs that have tried to make renewable energy.
One designer, created his own Eco-Energy Floor. A couple pictures taken from this industrial design website (which I’ll be reviewing shortly) show the idea briefly but have a look at the whole concept.
Another concept with piezoelectric materials http://www.yankodesign.com/2011/03/22/the-power-of-footsteps/
I personally believe that there is a lack of products on the market that include smart materials. This might be because they are fairly new (50 years doesn’t seem it but compared to basic materials like metals and woods, its a baby!) and the materials are continually being developed. I think they are an impressive development in engineered materials and they also provide an aesthetic quality that many basic materials lack.
If you have any more innovative products using SMART MATERIALS please let me know. I love discovering cool new things/ products/ materials/ designs so please share them with me.