Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On the PDX 4D R&D Circuit

latest prototype

Today I got to check up on Sam Lanahan and LaJean Lawson, and the latest version of their brainchild. Sam handles the core geometry while LaJean, a wholesome Virgo, looks in from various angles, capturing the idea in an advantageous light.

LaJean has wide lattitude given Sam's invention is actually prefrequency. The extensible lattices might be time/size realized as rolled-into-place roads, permitting easy takeup when the show was over (or for in-service repairs), or they might be worn, as gossamer gowns or related cladding. The material is inherently porous and permeable, even if not easily torn.

Sam's garage compresses his invention along several axes. He has the different weaves, with their differing properties, and an evolving set of compression members, the latest being a snap-together icosahedron of 12 identical pieces of molded plastic, made in China. As for tension, he's gone through several designs there as well, the latest being these graceful left and right handed arcs, also snap-on.

If you're lucky enough to be a design scientist, you'll maybe be getting a conversation piece soon in the mail. The icosahedron has shape-shifting properties, which adds to the overall squishiness of this strong, and yet elastic product, Flextegrity. These properties are exploited in a clever marketing gimmick designed to give the Flextegrity meme some legs.

The web site should be on-line soon, where you can "read all about it."


photos by me using the Olympus Stylus 500