Category : BEYOND
By Shih-Yuan Wang | Media x Design Lab, EPFL（Switzerland）
This project is mainly inspired by the beauty of nature, focusing on soap foam bubbles, which have an n-hedron structure and are usually blown by air. The project questions this structure’s materiality, examines its physical performance and ephemeral characteristics, and expands on its meaning through an experiment in digital fabrication.
In addition, we present the first phase of this technology, in which an anti-gravity and programmable foam structure was achieved. The experiment demonstrates the different shapes possible for dynamic and transient soap foam structures.
The system consists of two main components: a foam-generating machine and a mass supply. The foam-generating machine comprises a container for filling with liquid, two input openings in the bottom for solenoid valves, a fabric to determine the initial phase of bubble size, a sculpture mechanism, and a shell to support the container and sculpture device. The mass supply includes a helium bottle, an air compressor, a liquid distributor (i.e., a detergent with chemical substances and thickening agents and a pump machine), and control circuits. In this experiment, the control system is composed of an Arduino, solenoid valves, stepper motor driver boards (Big Easy Driver), stepper motors, DC motors, and a water pump. Solenoid valves are used mainly for the adjustment of air and helium, while the sculpture machine with two stepper motors, two DC motors, and two sharpeners are used to adjust the appearance of the foam.
I highly value the experimental spirit with this work. The creator has not been constrained by currently available digital fabrication devices, but has developed his own, which is using bubbles to produce a new form of expression.