Design meets Biology – The SENTIRE (+Interview).

Automotive Designer Sina Rahmani has created a concept vehicle, an idea, that gives the Human-Technology interaction a whole new meaning & face.

SENTIRE as it is called, translates to ‘Sense‘ in Latin.

The inspiration behind the Concept is the ‘Sense of Motion‘ & the idea itself was influenced by the Concept of Singularity proposed by inventor & futurist Ray Kurzweil.

Sina developed the concept as his M.Des. thesis project at the Coventry School of Art & Design.

“SENTIRE is a study of human-technology interaction. In order to create natural and seamless interactions through movement, the biologically influenced design brings together technologies including Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing & Self-Actuating materials in a compelling package.”           –Sina Rahmani.

We talk to Sina Rahmani about his creation.

Hi Sina ! Can you please tell us about the Design ?

SENTIRE is a vehicle that allows better use of muscles and the body for driving as an athletic experience. It is designed for those who are athletes, existing motorsport people and potentially new users that are interested in fitness. Its objective is to enhance the Well-being of its user through movement.”

What was the inspiration behind the SENTIRE ?

I think one of the strongest inspirations behind the concept was Motion. A lot of car designers claim that their design is dynamic because it is inspired by a shark, bird e.t.c, but I wanted to seek a more realistic meaning of that, thus treating the word Dynamic as it is defined: “(of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity or progress.” I think anything with movement is beautiful, we regard it as the essence of life.”

When it comes to the idea itself, it was driven further when I was introduced to the concept of the “Singularity” by Ray Kurzweil (Futurist, inventor and director of engineering at Google). The Singularity is an event when Artificial Intelligence surpasses the intelligence of all humans combined because of its exponential growth. This was a game changer and changed my approach of thinking about the future and its potential.

What are you trying to Achieve with this design ?

There are three things that I’d like the user of this vehicle to achieve: Well-being, a Sense of Excitement and a Mental State of Flow through Driving. Flow is an ultimate state of consciousness where one is able to have high performance in a fully Immersive experience.

What was your main Focus while working on the SENTIRE ?

Throughout the project there was one question to answer: How can the experience of driving encourage well-being as an athletic activity? That was the main focus.” (Click to open the images)

Sina, Can you please tell us about the Design process ? How you started & how you came to the Final Design/Proposal ?

At the early stages of the design process there were experimentations with fabric in order to find the perfect form and also desirable material characteristics for touching and Skin contact. A thin membrane was stretched within a frame to create form with tension, I wanted to create a shape that displayed the function of the material and vehicle. The membrane was soft, inviting to touch and adaptable. This was exactly the feeling I wanted to convey through-out the design. After this stage, I started sketching abstract forms inspired by the earlier experiments and gradually moved to create themes that branched out to different concepts. The final proposal came along with a simple side profile sketch that seemed to embody all the themes into one seamlessly.” (Click to open the images)

We can see that you have put this project under the Programming category alongside Automotive & Industrial Design. So, how is Programming involved in this Project?

Grasshopper was used to create the main structure and axles of the vehicle. It is a visual programming tool that is capable of handling large amounts data and creating complex geometry that looks natural. I found it a useful tool because it enabled me to apply numerous variables to an algorithm such as attraction by points and curvature.

The line in the name of the project,  SENTIRE -“Design meets Biology”, Can you please tell us about it ? What does it exactly means ?

It is in human nature to be curious, and that has led us to understand our surroundings and nature. As we move towards the future, we are getting closer to matching nature through technology in every aspect. Technologies like 3D printing, Genome Sequencing, Artificial Intelligence and Soft Robotics enable this. So the project proposes the merging of humans (biology) and machines (technology) in function, form and interaction.

How is the 3D printing technology being applied in this Design ?

3D printing with variable material density is used to manufacture the Electroactive Parts of the vehicle. Printed with micro-scale precision, this allows for selective rigidity and movement of the structure and skin.

The Scale model produced uses 3D printing as well. It is made of SLS Nylon powder and is 65cm in length.

Scale Model of the SENTIRE.
Scale Model of the SENTIRE.

What is an “Electroactive material” ?

Electroactive materials are capable of self-actuation (movement) by electric current. They are typically used to create artificial muscles in soft robotics. A common material typically used for this is stretched polymer membranes that have been made conductive. There has been improvements with this technology by enabling Graphene based composites that display the same character.(Click to open the image)

Would the SENTIRE be possible without the 3D printing technology ?

No, It would not be. This was to prove the statement “design meets biology”. The structure is so complex that it could only be replicated by 3D printing or the nature itself. It displays the latest capabilities and potential of Digital Fabrication methods.

Can you please tell us about the Structure & its Components ?

The structure of the vehicle is made of a dense network of cells that resemble a skeleton. To create this I used Grasshopper to build an algorithm that varies the cell density by surface curvature. The pattern used was Voronoi. These patterns occur in nature in cases like bones, leaves and sandstone structures. I felt that the choice of pattern and process bridged the close relationship between humans and technology.(Click to open the image)

Can you please tell us How a person would Navigate (Drive) the SENTIRE ?

The driver navigates the vehicle by pulling two cables that have adjustable resistance strength based on performance. Leaning forward and backward controls the speed. The grips capture biometric data and grip pressure, while the interior’s sensors capture motion data. This information is being processed by the artificial intelligence in real time so that the vehicle can adapt to the driver’s movement and position.

There is no dashboard, all commands are given through speech and information is displayed with Augmented Reality Lenses. The auditory feedback is given by channeling air through a network of cells situated inside the air intakes next to the driver’s ears. This makes a turbulent sound that is more honest to electric vehicles.(Click to open the image)

In the ABOUT section of the SENTIRE’s behance page, It says. “SENTIRE is a Study of Human-technology Interaction”.  Can you please explain it to Us? What exactly you mean by that ?

Ultimately, we are moving towards more intuitive and natural interactions with devices. A few current examples that show this trend are gesture control wristbands/gloves, wearable technology and augmented/virtual reality. All of these provide more engaging alternatives to the traditional keyboard/touchpad interaction. I wanted to explore how the dynamics of driving could be transformed in the next two decades. Autonomous driving would take care of our transport needs, but the driving experience can be pushed towards an athletic experience.

What affect do you think the SENTIRE will have on the Design & Automotive industry ?

SENTIRE proposes an alternative to preserve the driving experience in the autonomous car era. There will be potential customers that may have never driven before and have any interest to, so it certainly takes a new approach to convince them. A lot of OEMs with racing heritage want to keep the driving experience alive in the post-autonomous era, but they need to take bold steps to achieve that.

Given, the resources, How close is SENTIRE to becoming a Reality ?

It is not possible today, because all of the technologies it uses are still at their early stage of development. But in 30 years, it might just be.

Is SENTIRE just a Concept, an idea that you are exploring & searching out for possibilities or is it Design, an Automobile that you see coming to life as a Product in the nearby future?

It is more of an experiment to find ways of embracing new technologies in the automotive industry. But the design features and processes used in the project may find their way in products in the nearby future.

If you could, How would you describe SENTIRE and the Design of SENTIRE  in a word ?

SENTIRE. It means to sense, hear, and feel in Latin.

& in a Sentence ?

A Dynamic Vehicle that Tackles Automation with Technology itself.

“Every Design reflects  the Values & Character of its Designer in itself”, How does this Apply to You & SENTIRE ?

First I’d like to affirm that statement. I had set a list of values and beliefs as parameters for this project. These concerned what I termed as “Human Values”. I feel that in a technologically advanced world with Artificial Intelligence, we need to be more precautious about the way we use technology and what it favours. This influenced the entire project.

About Sina Rahmani.

Sina Rahmani.
Sina Rahmani.

I am the kind of person that likes to explore things in detail but veers off to different fields. Throughout my life I had the chance of living in different parts of the world like Sweden and the UK. I started my journey from visual arts into the world of automotive design, and now I am exploring programming and different technologies. I went to Coventry University and graduated with an MDes degree in Automotive Design, this was a journey of realizing many things about the industry and myself. My hope is to live the future today and be part of something bigger.”

Sina Rahmani.

A very big Thanks to Sina Rahmani for letting us share his work & taking time out to talk about it.

Thankyou !


You can find more of Sina’s work on his Tumbler profile : (Here).

His Behance page : (Here).


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