Mona Ghandi, assistant professor in the School of Design and Construction, and her team in the Morphogenesis Lab have received a World Architecture Award from World Architecture Community for a project that uses artificial intelligence and wearable technology to respond to people’s emotions.
The award highlights and recognizes projects that have the potential to inspire questions about contemporary architectural discourse, according to their website.
The award was for Ghandi’s lab work, “Wisteria: Architecture as an Embodiment of Human Emotion.” Wisteria is an adaptive installation that performs real-time responses to people’s emotions, based on biological and neurological data. In the project, people enter a space filled with a forest of cylindrical fabric shrouds that are made of a programmable material called a shape memory alloy that moves in a breathing rhythm. The project integrates artificial intelligence (AI), wearable technology, sensory environments, and adaptive architecture, allowing visitors to change the color and form of the installation using their brain and emotions.
“Wisteria is an extension of its visitors’ mind and body,” said Ghandi.
With its use of affective computing or “emotion AI,” the project could someday lead to therapies for people who have difficulty communicating their emotions, such as those with autism, PTSD, or mental disabilities.
“This is a very competitive award that architects from all around the world compete for annually,” said Ryan Smith, director of the School of Design and Construction. “Winning this award shows this project’s importance not only for its impact on the architectural community but also for its innovations in improving human wellbeing through the use of artificial intelligence and adaptive spaces.”
With WSU since 2016, Ghandi’s research focuses on intelligent architecture, examining the role of AI, machine learning, robotics, and adaptive architecture in improving well-being in buildings. Her research aims to create cyber-physical adaptive spaces that can respond to the user’s physiological and psychological needs based on biological and neurological data in real-time. Her focus is on smart systems that create adaptive and user-oriented spaces using affective computing. Through artificial intelligence, she seeks to create spaces that can learn from the user’s behavioral patterns in real-time, enhance environmental quality, reduce user’s anxiety and depression, and promote more flexible, human-centered designs. Ghandi has applied this approach in correlation with biofeedback data, aspiring to make buildings more attuned to the psychology of their occupants.