Inflatable Laser Cat Shoots Art from Its Eyes

Laser CatBarcelona-based creative studio Hungry Castle introduced an inflatable cat head at the ADC Festival in Miami in April. The inflatable Laser Cat uses lasers in its eyes to project works of art onto screens or buildings. In Miami, it projected art work on the New World Center.

The inflatable cat head measures 20 feet by 20 feet and stands two stories high. The cat makes a “pew, pew” sound as it projects the artwork during the laser show.

Hungry Castle used a funny online video campaign to solicit donations of creative works from local artists. They received more than 15,000 drawings, photographs, and paintings and “fed” them to the cat. At the ADC Festival, the cat projected artwork from its eyes for 45 minutes. It presented the top 50 pieces of art that were selected from all of those submitted.

Laser Cat will make its Canadian debut in Calgary. It will be on display at the downtown block party at the Beakerhead science and arts festival on September 13. Hungry Castle will be collecting submissions of artwork from the public in the coming weeks. Laser Cat has already collected 16,000 pieces of art since making its debut in Miami. For the show in Calgary, it will give preference to work from local artists.

Laser Cat is inspired by online pop culture and the popularity of cat memes. The design team behind the project wants spectators to question the definition of art. The designers see Laser Cat as a way to encourage people of all abilities and skill levels to create art simply for fun, not to achieve commercial success or gain.

Artist Creates Inflatable Sculptures for Exhibit

inflatable sculptureBenjamin Entner, an assistant professor of art and art history at the State University of New York’s Oswego campus, has a series of inflatable sculptures on display at the Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College in Washington.

Entner does not have a connection to the college. He responded to a call for artists, and his sculptures caught the attention of the gallery coordinator, who considered them ingenious.

To create the sculptures, Entner draws on nylon fabric with permanent marker. He draws thousands of marks on the fabric for each creation. Entner sews the drawings together and inflates the sculptures with bathroom fans.

The inflatable sculptures are all self portraits designed in the style of classical sculptures. One sculpture, the 48-foot-long “Ego Sum: Colossus of Primaporta” is displayed lying on its side with its bent arm pointing toward the ceiling.

Colossus is the centerpiece of the exhibit and takes up most of the space in the gallery. The other smaller sculptures are still larger than most other works of art. They include a bust inspired by Roman works and a variation on Michelangelo’s David.

The inflatable nature of the sculptures means that they are easy to transport and can travel around the country despite their size. They can be transported in boxes slightly larger than shoeboxes. They are simply taken out of the boxes, unrolled, and inflated with fans.

Entner began working with inflatables because of problems with shipping the wood sculptures he had been making. He discovered that inflatables were a more practical solution. He was also inspired by the question of whether painting and drawing or sculpture is a superior form of art and decided to combine the two.

New Tool Helps Designers Create Inflatable Structures

inflatableA newly developed interactive tool makes it easy for non-experts to create intricate inflatable structures.

The air pressure used to make parade floats, balloons, and other inflatable objects cost effective and easy to deploy presents challenges because of limitations in fabrication processes.

The new tool reverse engineers the physics used to create inflatables. The model uses tension field theory, which helps to predict the location and direction of wrinkles that can affect the appearance of the structure.

The interactive tool begins with the designer’s 3D drawing of the desired shape and proposes a set of flat panels that can be used to create that shape. The designer can change the location of seams to improve the appearance or shape of the structure. The method also allows the user to create internal connections between seams, which makes more intricate and defined shapes possible.

The material must be cut into shapes that can be joined and create the desired shape when inflated. The designer needs to anticipate and invert the effects of air pressure on the structure’s shape and account for the locations and appearance of the seams.

The method was developed by a team of researchers from Disney Research Zurich, ETH Zurich, and Columbia University. The researchers tested their method by designing seven shapes, including an elephant, a flower, a teddy bear, a sphere, and a fox head. They fabricated three of the shapes using PVC plastic sheets.

It took an average of eight minutes to design simple shapes and less than a half hour to create sophisticated designs with internal connections. The computations were performed with a standard computer.

The technique cannot be used to create rubber balloons that stretch when inflated and remain pliant. It can create inflatables made from flat panels with materials such as metallic foil, vinyl, or textiles that do not stretch a lot when they are inflated but are able to bend.

The researchers are presenting their findings at ACM SIGGRAPH 2014, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, which is being held in Vancouver from August 10-14.

Binishells Creates Environmentally Friendly Inflatable Buildings

BinishellsThe creators of Binishells believe they have invented inflatable structures that are the future of green design. They want to revolutionize construction methods to make buildings that are safer, more affordable, and more environmentally friendly than current designs.

Binishells are created by reinforcing a flat, balloon-like bladder with bars and wet concrete and then gently inflating it into the shape of a dome. The designers believe their “bubble” buildings can serve as environmentally sustainable homes, airports, resorts, and commercial buildings.

Binishells are designed to enhance the natural beauty of their locations and to calm visitors. The inflatable structures are designed to limit their impact on their surrounding environments. They are also made to withstand the elements, including harsh winds.

The green design incorporates sun, wind, topography, and views and takes advantage of the visual and thermal benefits of green roofs, as well as earth berming. The open floor plans combine with active and passive systems and ecological materials and finishes. The structural and environmental performance of the building envelope can reduce energy usage by as much as 75 percent.

Binishells offer several advantages over traditional buildings. They have lower construction and operational costs and are quicker to construct. They are also durable and safe.

The designers of Binishells believe their inflatable buildings could be used as schools, housing for workers and victims of natural disasters, community and wellness centers, military barracks and depots, convention centers, commercial businesses, retail and large-scale transportation centers, libraries, sports complexes, storage buildings, silos, and temporary expos and fairs.