digital paver
april 2014
Digital paver activates the horizontal plane as a medium to communicate and interact with users in the physical and digital domain. Modular concrete pavers have been retrofitted with a motion sensor, LED's, and speakers which are then connected to a mini arduino. There are 64 LED's to each concrete paver which maintain the same grid dimensions when additional concrete pavers are added; allowing for a higher-resolution of display the more concrete pavers that are connected. All the sensors, actuators, and circuitry exist within a separate rigid foam insulation layer for flexibility and efficiency. If any of the sensors or actuators are damaged, the rigid foam insulation layer can be replaced with a new one without having to modify the concrete paver.
lead
Christopher Chung
role
Digital Paver was one of three projects that I presented as part of my M.Arch thesis at the University of Toronto under the advisement of Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury.
type
prototype
physical computing
Plan of concrete tile. Each tile is 12" x 12".
Plan of rigid foam insulation layer. All the circuitry exists here, underneath the concrete tile.
A section of the system and how it integrates with the landscape.
Exploded axonmetric of the system.
fabrication
Fabrication of the digital paver was a bit tricky. Initially, I tried to make the concrete pavers myself by casting them into a form with 64 pegs, but with that many pegs it became difficult to remove the formwork without cracking the concrete. Instead, I moved twoards using a waterjet cutter and cutting the holes into an existing concrete paver. The circuit board housing was CNC'd out of rigid foam insulation, and placing the appropriate LEDs, wiring, and PCB board into the circuit board housing.
prototype testing

examples of use
The digital pavers allow for a number of possibilities, and below is a couple of examples in which they could be used but definitely not all of them. The idea behind this project is that it allows for the infrastructure to be in place to curate a wide variety of experiences.
Memory is an example in which a trail would follow visitors who walk across the digital paver tiles. Impressions, albeit temporarily, are left in the spaces they've experienced.

Design allows for users to create and shape their public spaces as they see fit, giving them the power to immediately shape the city we live in.
Communication shows an example in which two public spaces are outfitted with digital paver tiles. In this example, movement from one space is translated into another space and vice versa. While a very simple and subtle example, it displays an infrastructure that allows for telepresence across a number of different public spaces as long as they're outfitted with the digital paver tiles.