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May 24th, 2007
What if a building could build, repair, dismantle, and recycle itself? What if a building were equipped with sensors to track your movement through a space and could adapt its shape, texture, light, sounds, and heat to your presence? Finally, what if you could talk to a building and it could talk back?
Those are the kinds of questions students in UVA architecture professor Jason Johnson's Robotic Ecologies seminar are encouraged to ask and explore.
As Johnson admits, they aren't questions architects normally ask, but they're becoming commonplace in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, and materials science. Indeed, when we spoke to UVA materials science professor William Jesser last year about the opening of Wilsdorf Hall, the new state-of-the art facility equipped for research on nanotechnology, he spoke matter-of-factly about programing dust particles, or "smart dust," to track movements or measure temperature and humidity.
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