Last week at the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Committee for Research and Innovation Design Meeting, Ira Winder discussed interactive simulation tools and methods. As a research scientist at MIT Media Lab, his work focuses on Sociotechnical Systems – the convergence of society and technology.
The city can be seen as the ultimate sociotechnical system and as part of the City Science Group, Ira has developed interactive simulation tools for learning and decision making. Ira is known for developing the Tangible Interactive Martrix (TIM) for real time computation and 3D projection mapping.
This tactile matrix employs human-based modeling to explore outcomes and meaningful relationships within city planning. By using algorithms, physical scale models made of LEGO bricks, a table and projections of urban digital data (such as walkability, energy, daylight), non-expert users can interact in complex urban planning scenarios with insights from data to inform their decisions. This hybrid physical-virtual reality platform enables participatory planning and allows people to engage in urban decision-making. These simulations have the power to tell us not how the world is — but how it could be.
It was very interesting to hear how Ira, who has a background in Architecture, developed TIM and has been using the tactile matrix in a multitude of applications, including “Finding Places” Refugee planning, “CityMatrix” Model, Andorra Living Lab and PharamaScope, a pharmaceutical study for production. In some cases, he’s even hacked the Tactile Matrix.
Ira talked about working with large data sets and how important it is to start with a question. He uses the JAVA program Processing, an open source programming language and environment that can be thought of as a flexible software sketchbook to create the code for his simulations.
If you are interested in learning more about his work visit his website here.