Knot theory

The mechanics, mathematics, and ancient technology of knitting is the subject of a new study, “What a Tangled Web We Weave,” by Elisabetta Matsumoto, an applied mathematician and physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

This great New York Times article describes her study in greater depth.
Knitted fabric is also a metamaterial. A length of yarn is all but inelastic, but when configured in slipknots — in patterns of knits and purls — varying degrees of elasticity emerge.
“Just based on these two stitches, these two fundamental units, we can make a whole series of fabrics, and each of these fabrics has remarkably different elastic properties,” Dr. Matsumoto told the audience.

Myself, I am no knitter – my mother and sister are, and many friends – and now I am more intrigued to learn. I experiment with paper and its own structural and elastic properties when folded and manipulated – those models can often be extrapolated and used with other materials. If you don’t follow Kelli Anderson‘s work, you should – so cool.

I wonder at the crossover applications with fabric analysis. The article mentions applications in game engines and animation software (also check out this amazing organization in Africa using knitting to teach coding), but I wonder at applications even in cell regrowth and larger scale constructions.

Imagining the future

Certainly it’s time to admit that our current setups (transportation, housing, energy) are no longer viable and need immediate restructuring from the individual to largest scales…so imagining what the future of cities might look or sound like is important work.

Sounds have not been exploited to the extent our visual landscapes have been modified and structured, as host sites for advertisements and explorations of themes. But can they be used in a similar way?

This CR article brought up some interesting ideas…I especially liked thinking about how music can affect one’s mood “Interactive sonic façades on the side of public buildings could be designed specially to enhance the mood of the environment whilst also tempering background noise pollution.” Also, thinking about how sound can inform us, “…as we move into a screenless age where visual interaction is losing ground to voice recognition, the audible ‘earconography’ of the city will become ever more important. These will be short, nonintrusive and aesthetically pleasing sound sets that let consumers know they are interacting with or travelling through a certain branded or public space. “

food for thought-