Thinking Manual

A Digital Framework for Designing and Making

Individual Work (academic I Thesis), 2019-2020

Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT
advisor: Axel Kilian I Reader: Mark Goulthorpe

With  architects and designers using more and more computational design tools to reach higher degrees of accuracy and efficiency in design and fabrication, design is turning into an act of computing rather than creating, largely based on computers’ binary structural and representational logic. This thesis questions if the computer as a digital tool can augment the human mind and render design a pedagogical act of creative thinking. It explores ways of introducing computational tools into design processes of advanced geometry for a more creative and open-ended human-machine symbiosis. The Thinking Manual, a new design workflow, is developed to enhance and reconcile the designer’s creative thinking with the computer’s image processing and simulation capabilities. It is tested on human subjects as an experiment with the problem of paper folding being the test-bed. Both hardware (paper, markers) and software (Runway Machine Learning, Grasshopper) parts compose the physical and digital interface of  the workflow orchestrated with the eye-hand-mind of the designer as the driving force of the act of design.

Design Workflow: Analysis of the steps and modes of interaction between the physical and digital interface

Tutorial video

Origami Tessellations

Curved Creases

Origami tessellations, Iteration 1, Test User 1

Origami tessellations, Prototype 1, Test User 1

(Top, Left) Runway: Edge detection of the hand drawing
(Top, Right) Grasshopper: Importing the line drawing

(Middle, Left) Mesh generation from the vector line drawing
(Middle, Right) Generation of the mean ridges and valleys curves for the simulation

(Bottom) Triangulation of the imported mesh and force calculation

Test User 1 video: Making of Origami tessellations, Prototype 1 

Test User 1 video: Making of Origami tessellations, Iteration 1 

Origami tessellations, Prototype 1 and Iteration 1, Test User 2

Curved Creases, Prototype 1 and Iteration 1, Test User 2

Blended Origami-Tessellations model (physical and digital)

© 2020 by Anna Vasileiou