The natural environment’s flourishment is dependent on the continual process of the water cycle, giving any ecological system nourishment and life. Yet, there is a problem in the urban environment, where there is a lack of contribution to protecting this cycle. Surface run off, pollutants and deforestation has resulted in a water system that is effectively contaminated; flash floods and acid rain are symptomatic of this. Thus, we are in need of implementing intelligent processes to assist in our decontamination of the water urban flow.
By designing a skin that can be implemented throughout the city for the purpose of testing, feedback and control of neglected environments, we are proposing an intelligent and adaptive system. What we envisage is a return to an environment where water is celebrated, not disposed of. In this manner, disused urban sites regain vitality and become destinations in the city.
In nature, we look towards the process of adaptability; this being in the realm of environmental response. Having dissected the shapes and structures of several flowers, there has been identified several key features of radial and non-radial movements dictated by phototropism. For example, in the Snap Dragon Flower lateral, dorsal and ventral members dictate the crease patterns of its extended form. In addition, the Japanese Morning Glory has radial expansion that reveals how rapid deployment is designed in nature.
The ability of a flower to curl up for reduction of water loss via evaporative cooling and then open for water channeling has inspired the way in which we look at our water cycle. We ask, what natural cycles can educate us on the way water is treated and dispersed?
In understanding this process, we analysed the Bromeliad Flower. The location of valves at the base of the bud enable water storage, being in the same time vital for increasing water uptake. When closed, the series of leaves channel water towards the base of the head.
Our skin proposal started by developing a prototype panel of a bespoke designed Origami which folds in 3 shapes by using an Arduino sensor. The shape of the module has been designed to collect the maximum quantity of water when it’s open. The movement is achieved by using a servo motor.
The mechanism reacts to light and precipitation sensors provide the primary requirement of water retention and testing. Secondly, water is filtered through a root and a biological network before being freed into the environment below for consumption and play. A pH tester is incorporated in the surface of the foldable elements, which identifies water acidity in the environment. The color coding gradient from red to green provides visual stimulation, while raising awareness about the pollution levels in the site at certain points in time.