Shlomi Mir

Senior Designer
Israel National Museum of Science

Simple Tools, Complex Systems

Today, most sustainable systems rely on complicated (and expensive) engineering to harvest energy and complete tasks. However, integrating fundamentally simple structure with basic control architecture can enable complex yet reliable behavior. The tumbleweed desert is an autonomous research platform which utilizes this approach to efficiently collect data using only wind energy. Designed to be a robust, adaptive system, the polycarbonate structure relies on tension, which allows it to transform its shape to control its path. The arrangement of the system's sails allows it to catch wind and roll. Using a kinetic generator, the Tumbleweed’s motion powers an onboard computer, sensors and motor. Currently, the system is geared to study the causes and effects of desertification, a global phenomenon where fertile land transforms into desert, usually due to drought, deforestation and unsuitable agriculture. Working with local scientists, experiments have been conducted testing working prototypes in the harsh desert climate.

In this talk Shlomi will discuss the integrative and lean approach to development which produced the Tumbleweed and the direction in which it is rolling.

Shlomi Mir is a designer and developer. When he is not chasing robots in the desert, he designs interactive science exhibitions and exhibits as head of R&D and Senior Designer at the Israel National Museum of Science. He is currently working on what is expected to be the largest Fablab in the Middle East. In addition, Shlomi is the lead designer for the main structure for the alternative temporary community at Midburn. Shlomi’s work has won numerous awards and has been displayed in Salone Milan Design week, Musrara gallery, Venice Architecture Bieanelle, and at Burning Man where he designed the first Israeli CORE project. Shlomi began his career developing bomb dismantling (EOD) robotic platforms for the IDF and building semi-acoustic guitars for himself. View a write up in Fast Company of his Tumbleweed robot here.

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