protoDECK is a project developed by Marco Verde and MarkDavid Hosale for HYPERBODY, TU Delft (The Netherlands). A key physical subject of protoSPACE 3.0 project, protoDECK is a catalyst as much as it is an expression of architectural and interaction design. Designed as an open system, protoDECK is both physically and behaviourally a modular system developed to embody multi-modal interaction and to be adaptable to the research and education needs of protoSPACE 3.0. The protoDECK is a modular system of interlocking, fully customizable wooden tiles.
The design of protoDECK rises from the integral application of computationally advanced design techniques and digital fabrication methods. The systems also integrates the capabilities of a conventional technical floor, providing a fast solution for the installation of the infrastructure needed to support various current and unanticipated future technical installations and upgrades to the Interactive Experimentation Lab through a modular system of interlocking, fully customizable wooden tiles. The pattern of protoDECK is composed of 361 one-off tiles. The physical features of each tile and its local behaviour are programmed by a parametric-associative rule set: a combination of geometric interrelationships and algorithmic processes regulates both the topological variation and morphological modulation. The modulation of the pattern, which is restricted to specific physical limits of adaptation, also negotiates with manufacturing, assembly, and cost-effectiveness criteria. Moreover, being developed according to a file to factory logic, protoDECK can be parametrically upgraded while being always ready for immediate CNC production.
The qualities of modularity and customization have giving rise to the behavioural system of the protoDECK. Out of a total of 361 tiles, a group of the 189 tiles in the centre of the floor have been organized into a behavioural group of interactive tiles. Within each of these tiles is a small, embedded microprocessor, called protoNODE. Each protoNODE is networked with its neighbours and is designed to give a tile a local intelligence whereby it parses and interprets force sensor data from footsteps and controls the output of a full-colour led lighting system. Each tile is, therefore, a member of a larger interactive system, which can be programmed with various behaviours to support numerous interaction scenarios. In addition to being fully programmable, the protoNODE is a physically modular system as well. Sensors and output devices can be added or removed which allow the protoNODEs to vary independently and support future, unanticipated uses of the device.