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Self-Assembly Line: TED Conference, CA 2012

A collaboration with Arthur Olson, The Molecular Graphics Laboratory, The Scripps Institute, CA.

Sponsored by TED Conferences & SEED Media Group.

Presented at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach, CA.

Full Project Site:

The Self-Assembly Line is a large-scale version of a self-assembly virus capsid, demonstrated as an interactive and performative structure. A discrete set of modules are activated by stochastic rotation from a larger container/structure that forces the interaction between units. The unit geometry and attraction mechanisms (magnetics) ensure the units will come into contact with one another and auto-align into locally-correct configurations. Overtime as more units come into contact, break away, and reconnect, larger, furniture scale elements, emerge. Given different sets of unit geometries and attraction polarities various structures could be achieved. By changing the external conditions, the geometry of the unit, the attraction of the units and the number of units supplied, the desired global configuration can be programmed.

Project Team:
Martin Seymour, Andrew Manto, Erioseto Hendranata, Justin Gallagher, Laura Salazar, Veronica Emig, Aaron Olson

A special thank you to Katherine McCartney, Sharon Lyle, Devon Guest, Logan McClure and Tom Reilly at TED for their amazing support!

Video by Karen Eng