York University
2001 TEL
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON  M3J 1P3
416.736.2100 ext. 33616

Concordia University
Department of
Communication Studies
7141 Sherbrooke W.,
L-CJ 3.329
Montreal, QC  H4B 1R6
514.848.2424, ext. 2535


Zoomorphe: Digital Limpets & Barnacles for City Surfaces


This pilot project utilizes 3D rapid prototyping technologies to model and produce prototypes based on hybrid forms derived from nature that will ultimately house embedded electronics and sensors.

Researchers: Michael Longford, Robert Prenovault
Research Assistant: Andre Arnold
Zoomorphe encompasses research in the following areas: a) novel physical interfaces; b) the integration of the physical and virtual studio utilizing 3D modeling and rapid prototyping technologies; c) developing playful and alternative interaction scenarios for mobile and portable computing; and d) experimentation with new processes and materials development. 
Arthropods found in the sea provide an interesting point of departure for our prototypes, as they are simple segmented forms with complex surfaces found in multiples that lend themselves to abstraction. They also speak to practical concerns such as attaching themselves to a surface for long periods of minimal activity devoted primarily to filtering, not unlike a sensor.  The final form of the housings will take into account interactions made possible when a mobile device is connected to a ‘digital limpet’ discovered on a lamppost, or a field of chattering barnacles growing on the wall of a building?
Deploying a network of small task specific sensor-based devices, embedded or attached to city surfaces, creates ambient aware or smart environments. Using mobile devices, artists and designers can develop new interaction scenarios for objects, surfaces, and the territory that make up Unicom (ubiquitous computing) environments in what is now sometimes referred to as the “internet of things.”
3D rapid prototyping for this project will be undertaken at the Digital Sculpture Lab in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, and in Hexagram, at Concordia University.
Seed funding provided by a Faculty of Fine Arts Minor Research/Creation Grant at York University.