Built by — Bakken & Bæck
A technology-driven design studio based in Oslo, Bonn, Amsterdam, and London. We define, design, and develop all things digital, in no particular order. With solid expertise in a wide range of design disciplines, we believe we can bring any idea to life — no matter the complexity. One of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies 2020.
Techno Carpenter is a technical prototype in virtual reality (VR) which proposes a collaboration between humans and machines: a virtual environment in which you would be invited to interact with and shape your very own machine learning-generated chair. In your quest for the perfect seat, this app would allow you to save time by just designing your own.
'A piece of furniture should be easy to be used, reused and repurposed based on the materials and components. It should be easy to be understood, and easy to be used.'
Here, Bakken & Bæck are experimenting with a novel way of interacting with and experiencing highly complex technology in such a simple way that really anybody would be able to start using it without any massive limitations. Enabling the user to communicate with their hands in such an environment leads to an incredible level of identification with the virtual world and avatar. Every slight movement of the palm and finger will be interpreted by the machine learning model and translated into an iteration of the chair.
By feeding an algorithm more than 6000 images of existing chairs, Bakken & Bæck trained it to recognise, read and analyse a chair based on its features or characteristics. In order to make sense of it all, the computer positions all chairs in an enormous virtual space (also known as a latent space), grouping similar chairs together. Some chairs have four legs, while others balance on just one. Some chairs are upright and lean, while others are low and solid. The computer recognises these features, and maps them out.
When you move your hand in the VR environment to shape your dream chair, the computer generates a new model by corresponding your gesture with certain coordinates in the latent chair-space. After a while, the computer starts to recognise your body language, while you are getting used to the language of the interaction. This is where the co-creation between humans and algorithms begins to emerge.