Computational schemes for biomimetic sculpture

Brower Hatcher
Karl Aspelund
Andrew Willis, Brown University
Jasper Speicher, Brown University
David B. Cooper, Brown University
Frederic F. Leymarie, Goldsmiths, University of London


A prototype system for the automatic evolution of biomimetic structures using structural automata is described and its utility for generating digital sculpture is demonstrated. Sculptures are generated from a primordial shape which is represented in terms of a triangular mesh and sculpture is created by extending the original surface using tetrahedral structural elements. Recursively applicable rules or equivalently, automata, are defined which allow the sculptor to generate a volumetric scaffold from the original surface. This scaffold is generated using the stated rules for inserting and connecting together the tetrahedral elements. The software is operated as a generative process where sculptures are grown from an original triangular surface mesh as a sequence of layers. Each layer is created as a 2-step process. In step 1, we populate the surface with tetrahedral structures where the base of each tetrahedron coincides with a surface triangle. Step 2 re-triangulates the apexes of the tetrahedra from step 1 creating an offset and deformed version of the original surface mesh. The sculptor has artistic control of the process at all points and may assign or change rules to generate different biomimetic behaviors, i.e., structures which tend to replicate natural phenomena. Copyright 2005 ACM.