Created by Patten Studio and currently on display at SHoP Architects, Lift is a lighting fixture comprised of 24 geometric petals attached to a single spine. Each petal, actuated using a shape memory alloy known as nitinol, can move up and down silently in response to motion it detects.
The project is described as a conversation starter – “It challenges us to think about the design decisions we can make when we not only begin to incorporate materiality and physicality, but also raise our expectations of technology and imbue our spaces with some of the richness, nuance, and immediacy we experience in the natural world,” says Patten.
Lift uses a series of low resolution thermal sensors to understand how people are moving around it. An embedded microcontroller processes this data and uses a low power radio link to tell each of the twenty four petals how to move. The motion of the petals is achieved using nitinol shape memory alloy. Nitinol wire shrinks in length by a small amount when heated past a certain temperature. To lift a petal, a circuit sends electricity through the wire, causing it to heat and contract, in turn pulling the petal up. Lift does not use any motors and as a result the motion is completely silent.