JENNY SABIN: It's not just about producing and designing a beautiful, interactive form, but to think about that as a live experiment.
So Ada features two surfaces-- an inner surface that's soft, which is what you'll inhabit when you're on the inside, and then an outer surface that is semi-rigid. Connecting those two surfaces will be these knitted cones, which actually-- when they're in full tension-- will actually springs. And then running on the outside, as I mentioned, will be hundreds of these 3D printed nodes, each one having a fiberglass reinforced rod connecting to its neighbors.
So we have individually addressable LEDs. And that network of LEDs will then be activated in real time with people's sentiment and their interaction with these cameras. So when we want to read the collective sentiment across the atriums, the whole project will be activated.
So the name Ada comes from the name of a famous mathematician, Ada Lovelace, who, in many ways, was an early predictor of the computer age and, like many women from her time, was not given her sort of due credit. And the project, in many ways, celebrates similar themes.
Early on, just going back to the topic of artificial intelligence, we were interested in how the project perhaps could smile back at you, right? That there could be a personal engagement with Ada. So my hope is that it, at the very least, opens up new questions, but that it ultimately presents a kind of positive nature to this type of research and how we, as humans, are really the ones kind of pushing it forward and probing the possibilities of it.
You know, the relationships, the materials, the systems that we've set up could easily translate into larger applications. You know, Ada could be a building facade, for example. I think there will be multiple lives of her location.
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"Ada” is an artificially intelligent pavilion that “smiles back” as viewers interact with it. It was designed by Cornell’s Jenny Sabin, artist-in-residence at Microsoft Research, for its Redmond, Washington, headquarters.