Posts tagged with "Radii Inc":

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Can a more accessible voting machine also bolster U.S. election security?

With questions over the integrity of American elections swirling across the country, designers are stepping up to ensure that necessary improvements are made to critical voting infrastructure before 2020. Making use of ElectionGuard technology developed by Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program, industrial designer Tucker Viemeister has teamed up with fabrication studio Radii, Inc. to create a more accessible, easy-to-use voting machine for polling stations. While the software components of the machine make it more difficult to hack and less confusing for users, Viemeister’s hardware design attempts to accommodate a diverse array of American voters.

The prototype of the proposed machine has three main components: a touch-screen tablet, an auxiliary control device with multiple inputs for other assistive implements, and a dedicated printer for backup paper ballots. The auxiliary device is an Xbox Adaptive Controller, which was originally developed for gamers with limited mobility. Its oversized, black pads make it easier to navigate information presented on the screen, a particularly important feature for voters who are unable to use touch screens. Those who need additional assistance, including voters who use sip and puff machines, can have their devices plugged into one of six jacks along the edge of the voting machine.

The attached printer produces a hard copy of every ballot filled out on the screen—a measure that is widely recognized as an important safety net in the event of technological failure. The designers argue that their specially developed hardware integrates and optimizes the effectiveness of Microsoft's secure voting software. While it is unclear where, when, or if the voting machine will ever be fully implemented, the design takes critical steps in imagining how future American elections might become more transparent, accessible, and safe.

According to Radii, "Working collaboratively with Radii Principal Ed Wood and his team, the fundamental working parts (the electronic 'guts') of the design were combined with Radii’s extensive fabrication knowledge to execute Viemeister’s vision for the minimalist 'box,' tablet support and printer housings. The goals were simple: Make something that works dependably, fabricated in 2 weeks and looks good without looking overdesigned. After an intense few days of working design sessions with Viemeister, and a few rounds of chipboard mock-ups, testing appearance, and functionality; the design was finalized and ready for production. All visible components and housings (other than the retrofitted shelf tablet bezel) were scratch built around Viemeister's initial concept sketches and a logical assemblage of working parts to minimize depth of 'pizza box' housings."
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Radii's WTC Marketing Suite

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An abstract vision of the site's future is also a high-tech marketing display.

As work at the World Trade Center site progresses steadily, a matryoshka-like replica of it has taken shape on the 10th floor of 7 World Trade. With a view of the construction below, the Silverstein Properties marketing suite occupies the same floor as the WTC architects’ annex offices, providing a tableau of the working architects as well as the completed site to prospective tenants of towers Two, Three, and Four. Scaled architecture studio Radii Inc. have been designing models of the site since its earliest phases, so Silverstein’s senior VP of marketing and communications approached Radii partners Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski with his conceptual ideas for the diorama. “He wanted it to be big,” said Wood. “Our first questions was, ‘What are the ceiling heights?’”
  • Fabricator Radii Inc.
  • Designer Radii Inc.
  • Location New York, NY
  • Status Complete
  • Material Cast acrylic
  • Process Laser cutting and scoring
With 14-foot ceilings and 25 square feet of floor space, the team mapped out a footprint of Lower Manhattan from Chambers to Albany streets on the north and south and from Hudson to just past City Hall from west to east. Radii then began to experiment with varying levels of details and abstraction for the WTC buildings. “When you abstract a building, it can be as challenging as making it photo-real,” said Wood. “How do you distill it down to an iconic replica but still have it read as a whole?” They decided to render the models in ⅜-inch cast acrylic with a P-95 finish, a factory matte that lends a frosted appearance to the crystalline forms. More than 60 sheets of 4-by-8-foot acrylic went into the full model. Fenestration is laser-scored on the exterior, and interiors contain ghosts of interior floor plates and cores. Only details that point to the essence of each design are included: Roger’s structural ladder accentuates its verticality, while Calatrava’s transportation hub is distilled into a bony spine and Snøhetta’s visitors center into a gestural representation of the building’s gradated skin. Towers are lit with interior columns wired with rows of LEDs, a concept developed, along with a backlit transparency of the street grid and subway lines, in collaboration with an exhibit electronics technician. Each LED color identifies separate leasing zones, allowing marketing presentations to control the display via iPad. Even with a two-month design process and thousands of parts to be pre-assembled, labeled, disassembled, wrapped, and transported to the marketing suite, the entire installation took place over a long weekend, in time for a post-Memorial Day opening. Ultimately, though, Wood said the biggest challenge was making sure his team had the latest information about the ever-changing World Trade Center site and building designs. As a result, Radii became a sort of clearinghouse for the latest details, often fielding calls seeking the most privileged information. “We even get calls asking how many trees are on the site,” said Wood. “There are 463. And they will grow to 60 feet when they are mature.”
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Models of Freedom: Architectural Model-Maker Featured on Television

Fox News featured Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski of Radii Inc. last night, giving viewers a behind the scenes glance at a craft little known outside of architectural circles. Wood explained the relevance of architectural models in the face of advances in computer animation. He noted that there is, perhaps, a kind of dishonesty to the flat screen. “The physical model allows freedom,” he said. It was a sound bite that no doubt gelled with Fox producers, who promptly posted the video to their “Rise of Freedom” website under the subtitle “Designing Freedom.”