Jellyfish pavilion at World Expo 2025

One of the primary projects for FD in 2023/24 involves supporting the development of one of the Signature Pavilions at the World Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan. This pavilion, centered around the theme of "Invigorating Lives", is the brainchild of Sachiko Nakajima, CEO of steAm Inc. The breathtaking architecture by Tetsuo Kobori Architects, with a roof resembling a jellyfish (see below), is housing various interactive art installations, designed to unlock creativity in visitors through playful learning experiences. FD is providing concepts and prototypes for several of these installations through digital interactive 3D visualizations and is also responsible for the final software implementation, collaborating closely with TASKO, THINK AND SENSE, and brightvox. We extend a warm invitation to all to visit the Expo 2025 to enjoy this unique journey of discovery and innovation!

© steAm Inc. & Tetsuo Kobori Architects

Motion Forms

Motion Forms is a long-term project about how motion can create forms. Given only the motion paths for several objects with identical shapes, the goal is to find the shape with the maximum volume such that no objects overlap at any time during the motion. This problem extends the idea of space-filling shapes to spacetime-filling shapes.
Finding the maximum volume shape is an algorithmic and computational challenge. An intermediate step is to find a 'complete contact' shape, defined as a shape such that every point on its surface is a contact point between two bodies at at least one time during the motion. The maximum volume shape is necessarily a complete contact shape (the reverse is not true).
As the first result of a low-resolution computation in 3D, a complete contact shape for six objects following the motion of a Bricard 6R linkage is shown below. Two different colors are used to better distinguish the six identically shaped objects.

Dynamic Kaleidocycle Sculpture

A two-meter-sized moving sculpture of a nine-hinged Möbius Kaleidocycle was realized in the entrance hall of Lab 4 at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). It is the first sculpture of its kind using an innovative driving principle where only the uppermost link is rotated, and the object is performing an everting motion due to gravity. The sculpture was manufactured by ARCHIMEDES EXHIBITIONS in Berlin. The videos below show an early rendering, the installation process, and the actual object in motion.

Three-fold Möbius Band

Wrapping an unstretchable strip around three cylinders, as shown below, leads to a three-fold Möbius band, a non-orientable surface with only one side and one edge. Surprisingly, the band can only be constructed up to a critical inclination angle of the cylinders. Other numbers of cylinders are possible as well, for details, please see the paper. A table was made using aluminum cylinders, an acrylic plate, and a textile cloth for the band.

Möbius Kaleidocycles

Möbius Kaleidocycles are a revolutionary type of linkage (closed-loop mechanism) with seven or more links connected via hinges. No matter how many links a Möbius Kaleidocycle is made of, it always has just one internal degree of freedom, an endless everting motion. Please explore these fascinating objects with the interactive visualization tool. For details, please see the paper.

Magnetic Gears

Spherical magnets behave like ideal point dipoles, and for specific positions and rotation axes, they allow for perfectly smooth torque transmission. This discovery led to the first smooth non-coaxial magnetic gear, which has advantages over mechanical gears since it is contactless. Two simple sketches of this patented system are shown below. For details, please see the paper.