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Colonia Techne Beginnings


If only finishing old projects was as fun as starting new ones!! We have started prototyping the components of our Colonia Techne project for the City of San Jose (described here). Walter Kim, who is working with us on the 3D printing, took this video of his Cupcake CNC extruding a test print for our polyp component, pictured below.

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I also took this video of a breadboard prototype of the arduino-speaker-mic-LED combination we plan to run the interactive component. Here, I blow on the mic to generate sound. When mic volume reaches the threshold (set using Arduinos native programming interface), it lights the LED.

Next steps are to print our polyps full scale on our own Reprap CNC (currently in the mail), and to integrate the tri-color LED and speaker into the Arduino. Watch this space! Add comment February 10, 2010

RoCocoa installation at SFEs Eco-Center

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posted by Chris Chalmers Thursday January 14th was the second gallery opening for an exhibition called ReVisions: New Creations From Scrap and featured a lot of great artwork made from recycled materials. BIOS was invited to install a site-specific piece called RoCocoa, which was made from leftover chocolate trays salvaged from the Joseph Schmidt chocolate factory. Joseph Schmidt closed its SF doors last summer and we are always sad to see events that might lead to less chocolate in the world, but we decided to make the best of a bittersweet situation. Ha! Ok Ok, no more puns: here are some photos of the opening. See the previous post about the events first opening at the Remake Lounge.

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And a walk-through video of the piece.

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Its a fun show with many beautiful and interesting pieces, and will be up until January 29th. Here are just a few of the other pieces: Sorry I dont have names for the artists! Youll just have to go and see them in person.

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Add comment January 20, 2010

Woven Space Truss and Morphogenetic Structural Flow/Form Models

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Posted By Charles Lee I have been exploring complex space frame weave patterns in Revit and like the results check it out! I have also been exploring new morpogenesis software from solidthinking here is a few snapshots.

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Add comment January 4, 2010

Bios wins Public Art Commision for City of San Jose San Fernando Corridor Project in conjuction with Zero One Biennial ColoniaTechne
Zero One

Project Concept ColoniaTechne

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As a design research group, our central point of inquiry is design at the intersection of biology and technology. As such, we are interested in the reciprocal effect between technology and human culture, particularly in the way that we use and exchange information. For our entry in the 2010 San Jose Biennial we are envisioning a project that explores the concept of collaborative self organization through the lens of bio-inspired design and information technology. In the study of complex biological systems, agent-based self organization emerges as one of the central mechanisms in their formation. Examples of collaborative distributed intelligence in human culture, for example wiki and open-source communities, suggest that the self-organization we observe in biological systems has an analogue in our social and information networks. Such wide-spanning collective intelligence depends on human-electronic symbiosis for its success: linking minds across multiple continents for a common goal. Many biological organisms depend on similar symbiosis to leverage compatible flows of energy or material for mutual benefit. The core concept for our approach is inspired by the self organization and symbiotic behavior of coral. Coral is an animal with widely varied form and behavior, however most coral shares the same basic characteristics: It forms large colonies made from autonomous agents (called polyps) that act collectively. Polyps gradually accrete over time, each species shaping its reef through their characteristic individual behavior. Most coral polyps depend on a symbiotic relationship with a type of algae which lives inside their bodies. The algae photosynthesizes, providing glucose in exchange for nitrogen and phosphates excreted by the coral as waste. Our project proposes an interpretation of the qualities shared between complex biological systems like coral and the collaborative distributed networks found in 21st century human electronic culture. To create our project, we will draw from two open-source communities: one centered around the development of the Replicating Rapid Prototyper (RepRap) and one centered around the development of software for an open-source microcontroller (Arduino). With the help of these two communities, and SJ Zero-One, we will create a self-organized, interactive sculpture whos behavior runs on crowd-sourced algorithms. Site Opportunities Our proposal takes the form of a pavilion on Diridon Green: located at the corner where the path of travel from Diridon station branches toward the convention center and downtown. The pavilion will provide a waiting area for commuters, and a point of interest with interactive light and sound play. The location of the pavilion will draw people from Diridon station toward downtown and the other biennale exhibits, as the branching shape frames views of the downtown axis and convention center. The shape of the structure will also provide a focal point on Diridon green, and define space for summer events. There will be a small raised stage where a DJ can play or MC can make announcements. Project Form and Structure The pavilion will be made from a cellular rib structure, CNC milled from sheet material. In selected cells will be placed a polyp which has been custom 3-D printed to fit that particular cell. Select polyps will house an electronic brain consisting of a solar panel, battery, microcontroller, speaker, tri-color LED and microphone. The brains will be weather-sealed and self-sufficient. The number of brains and their location in the project will be dictated by budget and solar orientation. Crowd-Sourced Design The polyps will each be unique, and fitted specifically to cell they will be placed into. We will model them using parametric software called Grasshopper, and then 3-D print them using the open source rapid prototyping platforms. The software will use an algorithm to generate the form of each polyp within the specific profile of its cell. The software uses a genetic code algorithm creating similar but different forms in

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each iteration. Grasshopper, and its companion program Rhino, are both down-loadable as fully functional trial versions, and so are available to anybody with a computer to run them. We will post a base algorithm on our blog, asking people to download and modify it to create their own versions. We will print their designs on our machines, or encourage them to print their own when possible, and drop them off. As our collection of polyps grows throughout the summer, we will add them to the base structure. Interaction The electronic brain within some polyps will be energetically self-sufficient using solar panels and batteries. Its behavior will be very simple based on its consisting of only microcontroller, speaker, LED and microphone. However the combined interactivity of the system will be complex, based on the interactivity between the components themselves. The project is still in concept design and will definitely develop in the coming months. We are looking for new members to help participate on the project so please feel free to contact Charles,Chris or Jess about possible opportunities and contributions.

2 comments December 17, 2009

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ReVisions exhibition Scrap SF

posted by Chris Chalmers BIOS has two upcoming installations in the 3rd annual ReVisions art exhibition. The exhibition is organized by San Franciscos Scroungers Center for Reusable Art Parts (SCRAP) and will run from 12-11-09 to 1-29-2010. BIOS will be installing pieces at both of the exhibitions two simultaneous venues: First, the ReMake Lounge in the Crocker Galleria 50 Post St. SF, will feature a re-installation of BIOS cup canopy, made from salvaged plastic beer cups (concept images below).

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Second, in the Eco-Center, on the ground floor of the San Francisco Department of the Environment offices 11 Grove St. SF, will feature an immersive surface made of salvaged chocolate box inserts (from SCRAP) reclaimed from the recently closed Joseph Schmidt chocolate plant. No we didnt eat all those chocolates! (concept images below)

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There will be two openings, first at the ReMake Lounge on Friday December 11th from 6-8pm, and second at the Eco Center on Thursday January 14th from 5:30-7:30pm. See http://www.scrap-sf.org/ for more info. We hope to see you there!! Add comment November 27, 2009

Sustainable Skyscraper

This project is a design for a sustainable skyscraper, in that the building not only reduces it energy consumption it also produces much of the energy it uses. The outer skin of this double skinned building is made up of Photovoltaic film printed onto glass. The dual skin system allows for passive cooling and greatly

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reduces the solar gain for the building.

This patterning is taken directly from the forest canopy, the trees leaves spread out across the tops of the canopy try to gather or harvest as much of the suns rays as possible. In a similar way this buildings skin harvests the rays off the sun to feed the organism. The dappled light coming into the building created by the openness of the second skin creates an intricate and beautiful effect. This effect can be controlled based on programmatic needs, denser canopy and less light in the gallery or looser more open in the housing.

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The morphology of the tower follows a very simple logic-Maximize sun exposure. The total foot print of the site is extruded and turned to a southern exposure and then pinched to flatten and slope the southern face. 2 comments November 21, 2009

Fun with Animations


Posted by Charles Lee It all started with a rendering that reminded me of my favorite movie Tron. It also reminded me of those cool new age Chakra Images. So I started to try my hand at a few animations that used the effect. I made a creepy mysterious figure that I likened to Spirtual Technosis and a Phase Changing constantly morphing Master Control Program wich can generate an endless stream of unique types this animation is just a few instances and its set on Loop with different colors. So here are a few animations from my explorations into the new BIOS animated feature
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Also I showed some other Bios members my old study animations I did in Mara and Steven Skov Holts Biology as Master Metaphor Class last year. They are really fun and they always make me smile. There is some interesting and provocative moments Like the Bugati with Flexible Hair like extensions which allow the car exterior to adapt to changing wind and speed conditions as well as provide protection from accidents. The C-Hair has movement sensors which activate the coated memory wire hairs into a defensive position until disarmed by a Signal from a PDA or something. They are also very silly verging on ridiculous, presenting them is kinda Hairy!

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Add comment November 11, 2009

Thermochromatic Sustainability, Phosphorescent Fungi Gardens and Booze Belching Synthetic Biology
Posted by Charles Lee Charles Lee has been working with Moving Color Tile to help develop new thermochromatic tile that helps thermoregulate exterior facades and Thermal Mass. Check out the latest animation.

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I have also given visual support from the Photobioreactor Sculpture Project for the IGEM 2009 synthetic biology team from Uppsalla Sweden and also Uppsalla Universities International student outreach program. I hope one day to be able to fill my photobioreactors with there biofuel producing wonders. I would also like to thank Prof Dennis Jardin of SFSU for his consultation on a recent research project looking at the possibility of creating an underground glow in the dark mushroom garden. Here is the most recent

rendering 2 comments November 7, 2009

Disoriented Strands

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posted by Chris Chalmers

This project is an exploration of Statics vs. Statistics. That is to say it is a refutation of the ideal truss structure, which is statically determinate, in favor of alternatives based on a logic of statistical probability. While the logic of the truss is very efficient, it is not necessarily the most effective for unpredictable load patterns. The statistical approach, in which material is allocated according to where stress is most likely to occur, is closer to the structural logic that has evolved in living systems. Fiber structures are common in Nature. Monodirectional structures such as bones or tree trunks use oriented fibers to resist axial loads . Multidirectional structures, like those shown below, use fibers in a random pattern to resist multiple loads. They often act as membranes because they can deform without breaking. Their resiliency is due, in part, to the redundancy of their overlapping members.

melon rind

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type I collagen

felt These structures are called statically indeterminate because it is impossible to determine the load path using statics: the hand calculations that have been used by structural engineers since the 1800s. Today we have computers and nonlinear analysis to solve for complex structures, but buildings are still designed and constructed in terms of the old methods. In the words of Karl Chu: Architecture has still yet to incorporate the architecture of computation into the computation of architecture * The goal of this project is to create a building method that relies on redundancy and statistical probablity as a structural logic instead of efficiency and static determinacy. I used Grasshopper to create a randomized fiber membrane on a base surface in the following steps:

First, points are located on the surface using a probability algorithm in which areas of higher curvature are more likely to be populated (surface is color-coded for gaussian curvature in these screenshots). This should yeild a higher density of material in those areas.

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Next, the points are used as origins for randomly oriented strips of material based on plank line geometry (see earlier post), which conforms to the curvature of the surface but can be fabricated using perfectly straight strips of material.

Finally, the length of the strips is set to achieve the proper overlap. Individual strip lengths adjust to curvature as well: shorter pieces where curvature is more intense. Holes are placed at the intersections for attachment and the strips are unrolled for fabrication. This project is designed to address structural requirements in a statistical manner rather than a determinant one. That is to say without exhaustive analysis of the stresses in each member. As in many living systems, more material is allocated where more stress is most likely to occur, and where more strength is needed to maintain the surfaces intended shape. This method could be modified by adding structural analysis of the base surface instead of simple curvature analysis. Finite element analysis programs like NASTRAN or ANSYS will analyze a simple shell and output a deformation map similar to the curvature map shown here. All that is needed is to apply the bitmap to the surface, then vary point density by color, rather than by the native curvature graph.

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*For an insightful analysis of design/construction paradigms in flux, see Karl Chus essay: The Metaphysics of Genetic Archtecture in Arquitecturas Geneticas-II Add comment October 23, 2009

Optical Illusions reveal our Biological Hardware and Software


Posted by Charles Lee. I love optical Illusions. I often think they can be sustainable. Its an animated screen without using energy. They perform from our living experience. There animation is free energy. As an architect I am always interested in the use of optical illusions to help emphasize and animate still images. I feel like there is still deeply profound discoveries that can be made in this field. My studies are not, but one day I hope they will evolve into something special. How could this technique inform digital modeling techniques? Here is a fun study in a series of explorations I have been toying with lately.

Add comment October 20, 2009

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Explorations in 3d Printing
Posted by Charles Lee I am really excited about my latest research into large format 3d printing. I have been doing a research oriented project with Ideate Inc in San Francisco. Using there Z-corp Zprinter 650 we have been printing a tower study I created a few months ago. The trouble shooting has been incredible helpful on both sides and I believe it is my most productive 3d printing exercise I have done to date. If we can get it into the curing fluid in one piece it will be a tremendous success. I have attached the latest build photos as well as a few past

projects I have completed.

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Add comment October 8, 2009

Unrolling Surfaces in Grasshopper

posted by Chris Chalmers This Grasshopper definition is proof of concept for a VB component that unrolls developable surfaces to the XY plane. To make the component, Ive adapted a rhinoscript by Andrew Kudless (of Matsys) to run in VB, enlisting the help of CCA student Ripon DeLeon to write the code.This example uses the VB component to create unrolled surfaces from 4 curves that I have distorted using the cage edit command in rhino. To use the definition on your own projects, simply choose any 4 curves to loft between in sequential order. The blocks of components are grouped somewhat clearly (I hope) so you can add more curves by copy-pasting more blocks and making the few required re-connections to make it work. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. download the definition here:unroll3.ghx and the rhino base file here: unroll test.3dm

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For the above definition, Ive added tabs along the edges of the unrolled surfaces for ease of attachment. The benefit of using a WYSIWYG tool like Grasshopper for fabrication planning is that you can make quick decisions about parameters like tab spacing or sheet layout visually, as you design. If you use this definition for your own projects, send me a short description. Id love to see what you make out of it!

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The unrolled shape is about 96% accurate (judged by difference in surface area between unrolled and original surfaces). This seems to be fine for simple paper models, but would cause serious problems in more complex structures. I would appreciate feedback from any of you who care to take a look at the VB component and offer suggestions on how to make it more accurate. 1 comment September 23, 2009

Metamorphosis and Transfiguration


Posted by Charles Lee.

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Transfigure: The definition of which is to give a new and typically exalted or spiritual appearance to : transform outwardly and usually for the better. It is part of a series of works that were inspired by my healing time spent in the Monarch Groves of Santa Cruz while physically and spiritually struggling with surgeries and chemotherapy for aggressive testicular cancer. Attached are a few examples of work that came from the series including a painting that was recently auctioned at a

fundraiser for breast cancer. Thank you for the generous support.

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Add comment September 17, 2009

AIASF Parametric Canopy Install Photos


see more photos at our flickr site!

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the cable mesh was designed using a grasshopper definition that Chris wrote to calculate resultant vectors for all the backstays, and output cable lengths to an excel spreadsheet.

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volunteers used these laminated cards to arrange the cups on the canopy in an algorithmic pattern

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which actually worked out pretty well!

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4 comments September 13, 2009

Installation Party, this Friday Sept. 11th! Join BIOS Design Collective at our happy hour installation party, 4-8pm this Friday at the Stable Cafe, 2128 Folsom St. San Francisco

BIOS needs volunteers to help put the finishing touches on our parametric canopy, installed at the Stable Cafe
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near 17th & Folsom St. in San Francisco (map). The canopy is part of the annual Architecture and the City festival being put on this fall by the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (SFAIA).

We will be attaching over 2000 plastic cups to the canopy in Stables back courtyard (Cups were sustainably harvested from the SF Outside Lands Concert). The SFAIAs festival theme Everyday Design celebrates the many smart, ingenious and unexpected ways design impacts our daily lives, unveiling the unseen hand of the designer in everything from civic and institutional works to landscaping and residential design. Its going to be a fun evening where our collective labor and celebration of architecture and design can earn beer, tapas, and prizes! Please RSVP with Chris Chalmers chris@biosarch.com

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2 comments September 10, 2009

Parametric Inspiration in Nature

posted by Chris Chalmers First off, her are some photos of plant patterns. They have a clear logic of cellular aggregation that can be recognized in a lot of contemporary digital design. Whether surface subdivision or incremental accretion, the logic seems to be that each element repeats at a slight angle, scale and displacement from the last. Living forms are often thought to be the result of a bottom-up process (each piece created according to local rules) but these examples still yield a regular pattern that could easily have been top down in the sense that each piece was arranged according to an over-arching plan or grid. (not to suggest intelligent design! This a blog

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about architecture, not theology).

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Next, the following are photos of rocks found along the bay shore in San Francisco. They are an example of a pattern created by the nonlinear process of sedimentation and erosion. Their pattern is free of the gridlike organization shown in the living patterns above, yet suggests a decipherable logic that could prove applicable to an algorithmic process. Notice the heirarchy of cells: groups of similar size and shape organized by the

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layers of harder rock.

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Add comment August 7, 2009

Fun with Revit

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Posted by Charles Lee. Here are some recent studies I have been working on in Revit 2010. I am learning alot from these both the

potential and the limitations.

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Add comment July 31, 2009

Fiberous Tower Study and Revit Conceptual Mass Testing


Posted by Charles Lee. In my ongoing quest to better myself in all things Autodesk I have done two studies one in 3D Studio Max 2010 and the Other in Revit 2010. The first one is an exploration of a tower constructed of interweaving Fiber Bundles Wikipedia has a good description of the reasons I am interested in this Fiber, also spelled fibre, is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread. They are very important in the biology of both plants and animals, for holding tissues together. Human uses for fibers are diverse. They can be spun into filaments, string or rope, used as a component of composite materials, or matted into sheets to make products such as paper or felt. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. Since last year when I presented at Acadia I have wanted to study Fiberous Buildings after hearing a great lecture on fibers by George Jeronimidis The other exploration was using the new Conceptual massing tool in Revit 2010 for a tower study. I used the photos of Ta Prohm as a formal strategy for the generation of complex geometry. I was able to produce these in an evening. I really am enjoying using Revit!

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Add comment July 26, 2009

Plank Lines

posted by Chris Chalmers

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This is an exploration of geodesic curves and their use in the fabrication of free form shapes. For this study, I adapted a grasshopper definition by Lorenz Lachauer of Eat-a-Bug. Geodesic curves are defined as the shortest path between two points along a curved surface. This has some connotations for structural efficiency, however the interesting thing for me is that when unrolled, the lines are perfectly straight. Linear components are beneficial in two ways: first, they can be nested efficiently on sheet material (see the strips laid out above). Second, you dont need fancy CNC machinery to fabricate them. All you need to do it manually is a set of dimensions: lengths of strips and distances between their attachments. download the grasshopper definition : TurtleTest5.ghx

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Buckminster Fullers domes popularized Geodesic geometry, but they are only half the story. More varied versions have been used by Frei Otto, Shigeru Ban and HUT Wood Studio.

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Variation: The examples above use a large number of regularly placed start points. The example below, perhaps more interesting, used fewer start points but allowed the strips to wrap around the surface a few times. If we change the location of the start points and the angle of the strips, this could be used to concentrate material in key places, making structure more responsive than a regularized mesh. Obviously lots more to explore here.

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2 comments July 22, 2009

CNC friendly numbers in Rhino

posted by Chris Chalmers Single-line fonts are the standard for laser cutting and CNC milling because they are more eficient to cut. Somebody correct me if Im missing something here, but it seems impossible to get a single-line font to appear in Rhino using the typical text tools. Ive been doing quite a bit of CNC milling lately, so I used this technique to create single-line labels for my cut files by using pre-defined blocks instead of text.

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ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 16 23.10 The script is set up as a function so you can incorporate it into your scripts easily. To use it, you have to first import the rhino file with the text blocks into your file. Then run the script and it will simply turn the text you want to use into the appropriate block and place it. The beauty of this system is that you can make your own custom fonts! Just draw any shapes you want to represent your letters and numbers. Make them into blocks with the appropriate names (letterA, number 2 etc..), and the script will place them instead. Make sure they are 1 unit high in the current unit system (ie: 1 foot, 1 inch, 1 meter etc..) for the sizing bit to work properly. Ive always thought that a system based on geometry like latin numerals or braile might wok better than text for labeling parts. Id love to see your experiments, please send them to me! (remember to right-click and save-as) numbers.3dm numbers-function.rvb 6 comments July 17, 2009 Previous Posts

About
BIOS collective is a working group of academic and professional designers exploring the application of biological patterns to architecture.

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archimorph biothing digite cture data is nature Design Reform Generator.x HTC Experiments Inhabitable Organism Inhabitat material ecology MATSYS Nick Brown Articles Proxy Arch random blog SJET the very many Visual Complexity Database workshops factory

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see BIOS on YouTube!! http://www.youtube.com/user/BIOSdesignCollecive see BIOS on Flickr!! http://www.flickr.com/photos/biosarch/ Chris is the proud father of Theodore Sky Chalmers! Born 8-8-09. 12-17-09 BIOS to design interactive artwork for city of San Jose

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