Category Archives: heat

3D Print-Based Silicone Mold Culinary Study

This is a continuation of  Melting Materials for Mold Making, where we describe some of our experiments to create molds of wax, chocolate, and jello using 3D printed models and silicone molds, and 3D-Designed Molds for Baking and Freezing, where we experiment with baking and freezing food using silicone molds.

Our focus is using 3D prints to fabricate molds for culinary exploration. To determine what types of 3D designs and recipes work well to create customized, detailed dishes, we held a workshop with culinary enthusiasts.

Participants were invited to attend a workshop, which introduced them to our software system and workflow for generating 3D food molds. Over the course of the following week, they submitted drawings and photographs to be converted into 3D prints by our system. The participants then experimented with different recipes in their own homes, and kept in touch with the group by sharing their designs and recipes through a private group on a social network. During this time, they also had the option to create additional designs, and those were 3D printed and made into silicone molds for them to experiment with.

Types of Molds and Designs

The most common participant requests were to make multiple silicone molds of each print, create interconnected designs, and fabricate additional silicone molds of household items.

Several of the participants requested the option to make multiple silicone models of each 3D design. While it takes 2-3 hours to create one of the 3D prints, each silicone mold can be made in about thirty minutes. As such, participants were able to make several silicone molds from a single 3D print. This is a clear benefit of using molds over directly 3D printing the food, since having multiple molds allowed the participants to have several copies of the food design made simultaneously, whereas a 3D printer can only create one copy at a time.

Participants also noted the usefulness of interconnected designs. Such designs are beneficial because they allow relatively simple designs to be multiplied into complex forms, and, by changing the number of molds used, allow meals to be scaled to the needs of the person cooking.

below: examples of interconnected designs

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In addition to making molds from 3D prints, two participants also made silicone molds of household objects. The downside of deeper shapes is that they limit the types of food that can be molded. In order to remove the original reference object, the silicone mold had to be cut in half and then pressed together when the food mold is being set. While this works for thick batter or melted chocolate, participants found that materials like liquid gelatin or egg whites will leak out through any cuts in the silicone mold before they have time to harden.

below: example of molds made from household objects

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Recipes and Food Experiments

Most of the participants focused on single-ingredient foods that could easily transform from a liquid to a solid state, such as chocolate, egg yolk, gelatin, pancake, and flan. As our participants discovered from their experiments, other materials, such as wonton wraps, can also be shaped in the models, though they require the use of simpler molds composed of smooth surfaces.

below: example of wonton wraps

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For designs, participants suggested using food appearance and shape to encourage diners to make healthy choice. In addition, they were interested in using the shape of the food  to confuse or intrigue the diner as to what taste they may encounter.

Limitations

Overall, our participants’ experiments revealed that molds with smooth surfaces worked well universally, whereas molds with fine details worked best with frozen and gelatin based foods. Hot foods were the most problematic, as they are often soft and difficult to remove form the molds. Depending on the ingredients, it may be more effective to freeze the meal into the mold, remove it, and then re-heat the food.

Future Opportunities

In the future, 3D models can be tailored more specifically to the foods they are applied to. For instance, our software might be altered to preview several different 3D models from one 2D image to show variable levels of detail and depth. Each 3D model could then be customized to maximize detail based on the specific attributes and limitations of the different foods being worked with. That way, culinary enthusiasts could visualize and compare what the finished dish would look like depending on their design and choice of ingredients.

below: examples of same molds being used to make different foods. In the future, models could be generated to best serve different food materials

p6-1-shortbread cookie4.jpg  p6-1-egg2

fball-poached eggs2.jpg  fballs-agar2.jpg

Since our participants enjoyed and appreciated the social-sharing aspects of this study, it could be beneficial to create a broader social sharing platform to aggregate 3D designs and recipes, thereby scaffolding a broad base of knowledge to advance and expand what food enthusiasts can create.

In addition, our approach offers insights for developing future high fidelity food-based 3D printing technologies. For example, our study shows that there is a definite interest in providing healthier options, as well as a desire to create several portions simultaneously in order to facilitate a shared dining experience. This indicates that future food 3D printers could focus on offering expanded food options outside of sweets and treats, and explore ways of generating food that encourages a communal, rather than isolated, dining experience.

Since food 3D printing technology could potentially become ubiquitous in future years, it would be prudent to make sure the technology does not inhibit, and hopefully tacitly encourages healthy eating and social engagement.

 

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Designing for Extreme Heat

In the wake of global climate change, our world is projected to experience more extreme heat waves over the next few decades.

Phoenix, Arizona, where this research was conducted, is one of the hottest locations on the planet and presents a testbed for understanding and addressing heat-related challenges. This research focuses on adaptation as a design strategy that compliments existing approaches to mitigate human impact on the environment.

We held a summer-long diary study that helped us to understand how extreme heat impacts human lives and how participants cope with extreme heat.

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Above: Data from our diary study of extreme heat: thermal camera image captured by a participant and participants’ journals

These findings motivated our critical making work themed around adaption, focusing on artifacts for visualizing, coping with, and utilizing extreme heat. In constructing these artifacts, we were able to critically reflect on both the benefits and drawbacks of designing for adaptation.

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Above: Solar Cooker made from re-purposed materials

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Above: A sensor-enabled hot composter deployed outside

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Above: Solar-powered chiller

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Above: “Phoenix, a survivor’s guide” is designed to provide local knowledge and resources to the uninitiated in surviving the extremes of the desert climate. The survival guide is intended as a low-cost, DIY style, self-printed zine to be distributed amongst vulnerable populations.

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Above: Visualizing extreme heat: screenprinting with thermochromic ink and a paint-based heat visualization

To see the full paper, click here.

The paper will be presented at the International Symposium for Electronic Arts (ISEA 2017).

Heat-sensing drone test flight

As part of our heat-themed research, we are planning to use a drone to get thermal data for parts of Arizona. Nambi has been working with the DJI Matrice series drone and a FLIR Vue Pro thermal camera. This week, we did our first test flight in Papago park. The drone is impressively stable and responsive!

We are really excited about a second upcoming test to get some preliminary thermal data in urban and suburban areas a few weeks from now. Our longer-term goal is to use this high resolution fly-over data to study the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI) in Phoenix—a phenomenon whereby cities tend to be hotter than surrounding suburbs. We are also interested in mapping microclimates in different socioeconomic neighborhoods across the city.

Summer-long solar cooking study

Phoenix is one of the hottest cities on earth, with highs regularly reaching over 110F in the summer months. Climate projections suggest that many other parts of the world are also heating up, and Phoenix presents a testbed for understanding the challenges and opportunities presented by extreme heat. One of our projects looks at creatively using heat for sustainable outcomes through solar cooking.

We focus on solar cooking as a hybrid approach that supports both adaptation—by utilizing natural heat and alleviating economic impact (indoor cooking increases AC bills); and mitigation—reducing energy consumption. Also, by relying on a natural source of energy, solar cooking offers new insights into alternative modes of food production and sustainable food systems.

As a first step, we conducted a summer-long study whereby participants built DIY solar cookers and prepared foods ranging from slow-cooked pork and chicken to bread, kale chips, brownies, beef jerky, and fruit rollups. The project culminated in a solar cooking potluck where we prepared solar cooked foods as a group. Our findings show that solar cooking is indeed feasible and often fun. However, the process is also challenging. Solar cooking currently requires time-intensive monitoring of the food temperature and re-positioning the oven towards the sun. It also requires highly-specialized knowledge, both in terms of recipe palatability and food safety.

Moving forward, we are designing an easier-to use solar oven and knowledge-sharing platform to support solar cooking as a mainstream practice. On a practical level, these new tools can alleviate the real economic difficulties posed by extreme heat as well as improve local nutrition, food knowledge, and human health. The project is also interesting from a cultural perspective as we are creating the first ever community knowledgeable around “solar cooking cuisine”. We also hope to share the work more broadly through public cookouts and exhibits to engage the public in dialogues around extreme heat, sustainable energy, and climate change.

Are you interested in experimenting with solar cooking?

Join our paid ASU research study about using extreme heat! Our initial workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at 5.30pm on the ASU Tempe Campus.

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We are researchers in the School of Arts, Media, and Engineering at Arizona State University, looking at how heat can be utilized for sustainable outcomes. We are recruiting study participants who want to experiment with solar cooking over the summer.

We invite you to a solar cooker making workshop at the beginning of the summer. During the workshop, your will make low-cost solar cooker prototypes and brainstorm solar cooking recipes.

Over the summer, you will be asked to experiment with solar cooking recipes and share your solar cooking attempts (failed and successful). At the end of the summer, there may be a solar cooking potluck off campus.

Upon the completion of the study period (mid-August), select participants might also be invited for a semi-structured individual interview to go over their summer cooking experiences.

Study compensation:

  • $10 for each hour of your time during the workshop and interviews
  • $15 for each solar meal, including failed attempts you share (10 maximum)
  • $30 for attending the solar cooking potluck if one is organized, and bringing a solar-cooked dish to it
  • up to $50 reimbursement for any materials you purchased to make a solar cooker if you provide receipts

No prior solar cooking experience is necessary, but you must be 18 years or older to participate.

The workshop, potluck, and interviews will be audio-recorded and photographed, and all data will be anonymized. If you are interested in participating, please contact Stacey Kuznetsov (kstace@asu.edu).

Understanding how local communities view and experience heat

Over the past week, Althea and I started our summer heat study. This project aims to understand how local communities experience heat, and how heat-related issues are viewed and coped with during daily routines.

Being in the heart of the desert, heat vulnerability is a huge issue in Phoenix. Existing approaches have applied GIS modeling, climate data analysis, remote sensing, heat-related hospitalization rates to identify heat vulnerability regions and communities. This map of Phoenix is particularly interesting, as it defines heat vulnerability in terms of a number of complex factors: exposure, sensitivity, and community coping capacity.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 3.58.55 PMMap from Declet-Barreto, et al. 2013.

Complimentary to top-down data analysis, our study relies on qualitative, participatory methods, similar to other projects that identified social determinants of urban health disparities. Photovoice has been of particular inspiration for our work: this project asked urban youths in high-risk neighborhoods to photograph and document elements in their environment that influence their health.

Our work aims to understand and express the human experience of heat. Broadly, we want to know:

  • How are human lives and activities effected by heat?
  • How can the experience of living in extreme heat be communicated across different socio-economic regions and to broader audiences outside of Phoenix?
  • What are the material and social workarounds around heat-related challenges?

To answer these questions, we are running a longitudinal diary study that asks people to document their heat-related experiences over the course of the summer.

We are asking participants to keep a journal that documents their views, experiences, and workarounds with heat-related challenges several times a week. We are also collecting photographs of heat-related experiences and asking participants to send us weekly postcards that describe a heat-related experience that stood out each week. Finally, communities are also provided with thermal cameras to identify high-heat areas in their environments.

We are using the Flir and the Seek smart phone add-ons to capture thermal imagery. Gino Ceresia helped us test these cameras.  A few test images:

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Althea is 86F!

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20150514_230136563_iOSThis picture was taken from the back of our Stauffer B lab, and it shows the temperature difference between the sides of the building that are covered in glass and the sides that are covered in metal. The cool part is the metal.

We hope to share some of the photographs and diary entries from this work in a public exhibit. Drawing on the collected data, the project will express a more grounded account of heat vulnerability in Phoenix, giving a richer voice to those who experience it the most.

-Stacey