Entities in the Automation Industry

January 19, 2010

The following post is a list of websites which showcase innovative emerging technologies.  There are numerous branches of research which are being undertaken around the world, and this list is by now means a comprehensive list; it is a mélange sources that may be of interest in looking for performative materials.  The wide range of sources will be useful to offer something of interest for most in this area of research.

Some companies/groups that are dealing with the cutting edge of automation, be it based on human interaction or for buildings:

X2 labs – http://xslabs.net/theory.html

This is primarily about wearable technology.

Horizon 0 – http://www.horizonzero.ca/textsite/dream.php?is=14&file=9&tlang=0

Essays on architecture and textiles.

Institute for nano-scale technology – http://www.nano.uts.edu.au/about/australia.html

A website about the effect nanotechnologies could have on the future of architecture.

Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts – http://www.isea-web.org/eng/links3.html

A place for the interaction of art, science, and emerging technologies across cultures.

Marcelo – http://web.media.mit.edu/~marcelo/

A place for experiments and expanding the current human-machine relationship.

Intelligent Textiles –


An English company which embeds technology in fabrics.

Fabrics Manufacturers – http://www.fabrics-manufacturers.com/acetate-fabric.html

A look at many fabric types that are more common than might be thought.

A British blog on Calico Fabric – http://www.sustainability.govt.nz/forum/2009/calico-wonderful-stuff

Calico fabric has many uses and this might inspire the rethinking of other fabrics in terms of their performance capabilities.

Recycled Fabrics – http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6548/is_2008_Sept/ai_n28567093/

Fabrics are sustainable because of there reuse capabilities.

Suite 101 – http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/household_tips/118324

Some relatively new products.

Treehugger – http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/03/catch_a_buzzzzz.php

This article on Treehugger thinks critically about a new use of chemicals in fabrics.

Wholesale fabrics – http://www.spfwholesale.com/

SPF protection in fabrics, with surprising abilities.

British News – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/06/darpa_buys_british_armour/

“Tarian” Cloth armor system for the US army.

Freshome Interior Design and Architecture –


Luminous fabric.

CSHyde company – http://www.cshyde.com/fabricat.htm

High performance materials for an array of applications.

Crypton Super Fabrics – http://www.cryptonfabric.com/trade/about/green

A company which manufacturers numerous fabrics for many applications that are highly performative and innovative in their manufacturing process as well as their performance.

Some Companies that are in the business of building automation, from simple systems to innovative ones:


This website is a good resource due to its connections to many other companies, including many of the following.  These are all companies which create networks for building systems, automating them and thereby saving time and money for the client.

Control Solutions Minnesota

Cereniti Submetering Solutions


Environmental Systems, Inc.


AIMNET Smart Building Systems

Motorized Blinds

MetCon, LLC – Staefa

Computrols – computrols.com  based in New Orleans

Hubbell Building Automation, inc. – Hubbell-automation.com  based in Austin, TX, specializing in electrical industry

Honeywell Building Solutions – Honeywell.com – maintains systems of integration, an office in Indianapolis

C&C Building Automation Company, Inc. – ccbac.com, installation and service business from San Fransisco

Building Automation Products, Inc. – bapihvac.com, product development and engineering to manufacturing and sales, from Gays Mills, WI

Lantronix – lantronix.com, from Irvine, CA, secure communications technologies and control of virtually and electronic device regardless of location.

Green Building Automation – gbautomation.com, from Detroit, MI, total project management

Voyant Solutions – VoyantSolutions.com, which provides controllers for automated systems, located in Indiana.

T.A.C. – http://www.tac.com/data/internal/data/06/56/1198789468633/Allen+County_US.pdf

A project done in Allen county, IN, building automation.

Davis Industries – http://www.davisindustries.net/, systems integration company working in Indiana, partners with Honeywell, Lynxspring, Plexus, distich controls, echelon, etc.

KMC Controls – http://www.kmccontrols.com/hp/, service and equipment provider for integrated automation systems.

J & T Systems – http://www.jandtsystems.com/, sales, marketing, engineering, and installation of automation systems in Indiana.

Crossbow – http://www.xbow.com/index.aspx, wireless sensor networks, wireless sensors, and motes in building automation applications.

Automated Logic Corporation – http://www.automatedlogic.com/, total energy solutions provider; helps in all steps of design to create a better environment for energy usage.

Advanced Home Automation – http://www.avd.com.au/, provide start to finish services including architects and engineers to create the home environment desired.

Scena Systems – http://www.scenasystems.com/, cutting edge home automation systems, on the products side.

Applied Manufacturing Technologies – http://www.appliedmfg.com/, assisting robot companies, system integrators, and line builders.


Cognitive Technology

December 9, 2009

Walker, W. Richard, and Douglas J. Herrmann, eds.  Cognitive Technology: Essays on the Transformation of Thought and Society.  McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC 2005

In the essay titled “Social Identity and the Self: Getting Connected Online”, the authors McKenna and Seidman offer thoughts on the need of humans to forge relationships with others.  They see this as secondary to the basic needs like food and shelter, but nonetheless extermely important.  In contemporary society, these relationships are seen to be just as important, yet sometimes more difficult than in the past to for, due to modern amenities such as the internet.  These amenities can separate people from others, and so the internet must be the substitute for relationships once founded on personal, physical interaction.

The internet HAS been the substitute for these interactions for many people, albeit a very different type of interaction.  The authors mention the anonymity which brings to the table an often closer relationship because of the intimate information shared over the internet.  The lack of a perception of appearance and mannerisms also contributes to the difference in relationships over the internet.  There are also the factors of increased control and shared interests which influence online relationships.

The phenomena of internet relationships has shaped post-modern society in many ways.  It propitiates the disparity in the built environment: people do not need physical connections because of the internet, and people need the internet because there are no physical connections.  These things bring to light many questions: How does technology alter interaction?  Is the result positive or negative?  Does the entire medium of technology create a sense of anonymity?  Are relationships forged through technology real?  Do they compare to traditionally maintained relationships?  Do they meet our human need for relationships?

An interesting facet of interaction is its inherent quality of self interaction through interaction with others.  One becomes aware of his or herself through interaction with others.  How does technology alter this characteristic?



November 24, 2009

Kozel, Susan.  Closer: performance, technologies, phenomenology.  MIT Press, Spain 2007

From the chapter “Responsivity out of Interactivity”:

The chapter discusses the differences between the two terms, especially that interactivity is purposive and conclusive, while responsive covers other human states and actions.  This means that interaction is largely limited to current modes of thinking about technology, such as the interaction between human and computer.  Responsiveness also continues even when the system malfunctions; interactivity only exists in the proper sense, in that a state of interaction much be achieved, while the failures beforehand are not interactive states.  Responsivity in this chapter is clearly the more useful term and the one which is more complex.  Interactivity is, as described above, limited to specific instances.

“Responsivity is more effective than interactivity at describing the moment of sensory experience within the installation”.

Interactivity has more to do with an interface, with a human input and the wait for a response.  It is purposive, and leads to something in particular.  It is also important to note that it uses a medium within which the interaction occurs, such as a computer.  This is to say that there is a ‘correct’ response in interactivity, so that in the case of failure or incorrect function, interaction does not occur in a sense.  This differs from reponsivity, which does not require a certain response or action.  Responsivity also has no requirement for physical reactions or a sense of decision making.  A final point of the author is that during an interaction or responsive environment of which one is aware of his or her participation, one can only respond in a responsive environment, but the ability to alter the rules is a feature of interactivity.


Transforming the 20th Century

November 23, 2009

Smil, Vaclav.  Tranforming the Twentieth Century.  Oxford University Press: Oxford 2006

From the chapter “Rationalized Production: Mechanization, Automation, Robotization”

Mechanized processes have allowed the Earth to simply become a mass of raw materials, ready to be extracted and exploited.  The numbers presented in the chapter show the clear decline in human activity in agriculture and similar activities which has been possible because of robots, chemicals, and other modern means.

The figures are undeniable and the changes are good, although there are many negative consequences.  What does all of the information in this chapter mean?  How has this changed the nature of society?  Where are we lead to next?


The Age of Automation

November 23, 2009

Hall, George M.  The Age of Automation.  Praeger: Wesport, CN 1995

From the chapter “The Frankenstein Issue”:

6 themes are discussed which cover the Frankenstein issue, which is the idea of science controling the components of living systems.  There is Golem, which is a nonliving system which is given living attributes.  Lucifer is a controlling machine or human which dictates the actions of someone.  Frankenstein and android are the ideas of a creating something that is alive and of which we do not have control.  Prometheus holds the idea that there can be too much knowledge which subsequently destroys.  The final theme, Human automata, suggests that humans are subversive and must be controlled through scientific means.

These themes have existed ever since humans perceived the difference between human and automata.  The fear associated with automata is one which varies by culture and by person, but what are the sources of this fear?  What is the devil behind the machine?

The commonality between the above themes is that something which isn’t, becomes.  And this through scientific means.  Perhaps the fear is of the fragility of humanity, and of the ease with which it could be altered.  Perhaps it is simply the lack of control humans have over their own lives.  Whatever the cause, the Frankenstein issue is a critical idea in the human psyche.


Of Fashion and Architecture

November 18, 2009

Fashion has much to do with making.  In fact it means making. The french word faire means to make.  It also means creating, to accommodate, frame, etc.  Thus, fashion is a creation for the body; it is a dwelling for humans.

The idea of fashion also has connections with interaction, on which this blog is focused.  Interaction is the influencing multiple entities upon eachother.  The creation interacts  with the creator, or at least with the body it was created for.

Architecture is fashion.  It is the result of a making; it interacts with the body or bodies it was made for.  Fashion and architecture are networks for humans, within which we discover new information about others and about ourselves.  This is seen in some of the sources previously discussed: nomadic architecture and fashion are very similar because both cater to a highly mobile society that is based around smaller, more specific spaces.  Layers of interaction exist in fashion as undergarments, outer garments, and outer coverings, as in architecture the interior, exterior, and outer skins sometimes exist.  While the biggest difference may be permanence, certainly modern architecture has in many ways become less permanent and modern fashion has in some ways grown in longevity.


Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture

November 11, 2009

Hodge, Brooke.  Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture. Thames and Hudson: Los Angeles, CA

Despite the differences in scale, materials, or durability, fashion and architecture both start from the human body.  The same ideologies, theoretical foundations, technological innovations, etc. have influenced both; the parallels are the subject of this catalogue, which is from an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA.

Recently, architects have begun to pay closer attention to fashion design, because of 1) retailers of fashion hiring architects, which forces them to get to know their clientele, and 2) architecture has looked to fashion for inspiration with the dawn of modeling software.

There is much evidence of a convergence between the disciplines.  Similarities in structure and style have stemmed from similar techniques of construction and the spirit of the age.  There have been fashion designers, like Hussein Chayalan, who have blurred the boundary between architecture and clothing.  Is a table only a table, or can it be a dress?  The creative processes are also similar – both use models, although they are often at very different scales.  Methods of representation are also very similar.  One very good example of architecture and fashion teaming together is with Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser’s work into technical textiles.  The materials, including carbon fiber and prepreg tape are useful as both garments and in architecture.

Fraying the Edges: Fashion and Deconstruction

Deconstruction is characterized by an unfinished, loose look, sometimes appearing as poverty, devastation, or an affront to the normal, recognized appearance of the day.  There is a desire in this style for a break-away design that empowers the wearer to a new strength.

Deconstruction was seen as antifemale and antiestablishment in its premier years, and this is because of its lack of ‘beauty’ in the traditional sense.  Rei Kawakubo, however, finds the power of her designs in their rebelliousness, not in the beauty.  Indeed it is a push away from what many others find safe and normal, including feminists.  This style ranges from protest to poetry.

More to come…