Artist impression of a reconfigurable wall

Self-Organizing Amorphous Facade

We wish to create office divider systems that can adapt their visual appearance and privacy properties to your working needs, can be rearranged within minutes, and allow you to program them by gestures. For example, a wall could sense outside weather and its occupants’ moods and adapt its color accordingly. Or, a wall could provide its user with privacy by becoming opaque and emitting white noise. Finally, individual elements could open themselves up to let air, noise, and little objects pass between zones.

Photo May 14, 11 37 41 AM

Amorphous Computational Facade prototypes: opacity, light and air redirection.

Key research challenges that we address along this way are

  • Distributed algorithms that allow us to implement communication inside a large-scale distributed, modular system in a scalable way
  • Programming languages that allow us to describe the system behavior independently of the number and location of devices
  • Understanding what interfaces will allow users to maximize their comfort

A prototype wall is currently under construction and consists of elements that can change their opacity via PDLC foils, their air permeability by physically opening up, redirect light using mirrors, and detect users via capacitivee near-field sensors distributed over its surface.



  • Nicholas Farrow
  • Homa Hosseinmardi
  • Prof. Gregor Henze
  • Prof. Richard Han




  •  NSF



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