The work pods are a glimpse of the self-assembling architecture of the future.
Once heralded as an ingenious design strategy for saving money and fostering collaboration, the open-plan office has fallen from grace. It’s increasingly viewed by employees as a stressful, noisy nuisance, but with real estate prices soaring, it’s not an easy trend for many companies to reverse. That’s why some of the best solutions have been small-scale interventions that reconfigure existing open-plan spaces to fit employees’ needs in the moment.
But ask Skylar Tibbits to design a reconfigurable space for your open office and you’re going to get a whole different animal. That’s what happened after Drew Wenzel, a civil and environmental engineer who is part of the campus development team at Google, met Tibbits and started collaborating with him earlier this year.
Tibbits is the co-director of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab along with Jared Laucks, where they and a team of researchers work to develop textiles and materials that can be “programmed” to self-construct. Their past work has taken the form of wood that is 3D printed with a particular grain pattern that causes it to transform into specific objects and even furniture when wet, as well as shoes that can be made without human or machine aid, thanks to 3D-printed textiles.
The lab’s latest project brings its wild material experimentation to the everyday office: a wooden pod that lowers down from the ceiling and expands into a temporary work space. Born out of a conversation Tibbits had with Wenzel and others at Google, the transformable workspace offers a real-world application of the lab’s future-focused work.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.