Gabriele Gramelsberger, Witten/Herdecke University
Computer-aided Design in Biology
Since 2000, Computer-aided Design (CAD) has been becoming a dominant tool in synthetic biology. CAD-software is used to design microorganisms on the screen. Programs like Tinkerbell, GenoCAD, and GeneDesign are tools that use libraries of genetic parts and design rules describing how these parts should be combined to engineer genetic constructs and models. They are conceived to bridge computational and experimental biology. Since DNA can now be ‘printed out’ using DNA-synthesizers, the tinkering of organisms guided by CAD-designs has become everyday business. Although this has been rightly criticized as extreme genetic engineering, companies like Microsoft (programming life) are turning to this new field. The paper will give an introduction to the use of CAD in biology. It will address critical questions about the ethical burdens of bio-technology and
the new bio-business.
Gabriele Gramelsberger is professor of philosophy of digital media at the University Witten/Herdecke. Her research is focused on the restructuring of science as computational science, particularly in the field of climate research and biology. From 2009 to 2012 she was principal investigator of the cooperative research project »Embodied Information – ‘Lifelike’ Algorithms & Cellular ‘Machines’« at the Freie Universität Berlin together with the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.
Daniel Cardoso Llach, Carnegie Mellon University
Slaves, Partners, Aides: Imagining Computers in Design and Architecture
Computation has offered what we might term a procedural ontology to a range of fields such as mathematics, where the term originated, to other scientific and artistic disciplines – where it has been ambivalently used both because of its practical associations to digital technologies and as an intellectual template to channel generative, descriptive and analytical aspirations. Brought into architecture and design, computation has invoked the notions that these practices might be susceptible of codification, automation or augmentation; that computation might unlock radically new aesthetic, tectonic and organizational capacities; and (more recently) that the always on going production of the built environment can itself be seen as a type of large-scale biophysical and socio-political computation. Treading through episodes in the material, social and ideological history of Computer-Aided Design technologies in post war America – and through their transition into architecture – this keynote will trace these propositions’ links to the confluence of militaristic, academic and industrial interests within the research university, and to an intellectual space shaped by cybernetic tropes and disciplinary realignments. Enacting different ideals in technologists’ imagination, computer “aids” to design will appear critically as cultural infrastructures – not merely as tools – re-shaping ways of representing, organizing and imagining the built environment and the labors of those involved. Also, as stalwarts of a persistent image of the future worthy of scrutiny and debate.
Daniel Cardoso Llach is assistant professor of computational design at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture. He is interested in problems ranging from social and cultural aspects of automation in design, the politics of representation and participation in software, and new methods for using data to visualize design as a socio-technical phenomenon. His recent book Builders of the Vision: Software and the Imagination of Design (Routledge, 2015) offers a new look at the history of Computer-Aided Design that documents the post war emergence of a technological imagination of design in US research laboratories, and traces its architectural repercussions. An interdisciplinary scholar focusing on critical histories, practices and pedagogies of technology in design, his work contributes to the fields of architecture, design and science and technology studies, and is frequently featured in journals, conferences and collections. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá and a PhD and an MS (with honors) in Design and Computation from MIT. He has also been a research fellow at MECS, and a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge.
Sven Pfeiffer, Technical University of Berlin
Architectural Perspectives in an Age of Computation
Whereas individualized digital fabrication technologies and material innovations have taken over a variety of sectors from medical to airplane industries, architecture and the building sector are in many ways bound to traditional production methods, due to issues of cost and scale. The talk will discuss the future implications of a conceptual shift towards new building technologies, the challenges for the role of the architect, and the potentials of computational design strategies for complex architectural and urban spaces specific to the user, the location and the context.
Sven Pfeiffer is a Berlin-based architect and researcher. He has held lectures and teaching positions in several European universities, such as the TU Berlin, UdK Berlin and the AA, London on the area of digital processes and their implications for architectural design and fabrication. From 2010 to 2014 Sven Pfeiffer was head of the chair for Digital Design and Construction at the Münster School of Architecture. He is author of the publications “Wind and City – Climate as an Architectural Instrument” and “Interlocking Digital and Material Cultures”. Sven holds a guest professorship for Digital Architectural Production at the Technical University of Berlin since spring 2015.
Thomas Picht, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Computer-assisted Planning of Neurosurgical Interventions
Computer-assisted planning has fundamentally changed many neurosurgical procedures in recent years. Advanced imaging techniques and different types of visualisations play a key role to pre-operatively diagnose malformations and accordingly plan surgical interventions. In particular, the application of neuronavigation, a computational procedure that intertwines pre-surgical planning and intra-operative guidance, proved to be useful. Yet, in addition to pure anatomical guidance, neuronavigation is increasingly enriched with additional functional information. Unwanted results can occur, if this trend towards more complex digital planning and performance of surgery is uncritically applied. What are the underlying mechanisms and clinical needs that spur technological developments towards an increasingly virtual planning of surgical interventions?
Thomas Picht is a neurosurgeon and assistant medical director at the Department of Neurosurgery at Charité Berlin. He has headed the lab Perioperative Functional Diagnostics for many years and was significantly involved in the introduction and further development of navigated TMS for neurosurgical planning. In cooperation with the Humboldt University Berlin, his Charité lab is currently exploring how new visualization methods like stereoscopic projections or head-mounted-displays can benefit clinical work and how current workflows and interfaces can be improved to account for the on going technological shift.
Friedrich Schmidgall, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Designing CAD Tools
The aid of computers is greatly appreciated by industrial designers. Except, it seems, during certain stages in design processes where speed and spontaneity of expression trumps limitless space, precision and high fidelity. Even for experienced users, CAD is just unable to keep up with the flow of ideas. Comparing pen and paper sketching to CAD especially, reveals avenues for innovative interaction design.
The workshop will begin with a close examination of typical CAD workflow, from fuzzy sketch to 3D printed object. Having this experience in mind, the participants are invited to test and discuss prototypes of new kinds of CAD tools currently being developed at the Cluster Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory.
Participants are encouraged to take part in the CAD workflow demonstration. Please bring your laptops and download and install the free CAD software SketchUp Make (https://www.sketchup.com/download ).
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Department of Biomaterials, Research Group Mechanobiology, Group Leader: Richard Weinkamer