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Research

Beyond the Great 96

The challenge when designing around a large star is to reconcile its high order of symmetry with the field of more standard shapes that surrounds it. The goal is to make the complete design appear natural and seamless. That’s an exceedingly difficult design challenge, one that increases in difficulty as …

Animated Map Colourings of Hinged Squares

Tilings like these, based on alternating arrangements of squares and rhombs, are ancient. And in the twentieth century, a few people experimented with this hinged motion. I particularly like the essay by Duncan Stuart, then a student at the UNC School of Design, though the most famous use of this …

Heesch Numbers of Unmarked Polyforms

After a few years of not writing about the subject here, I’m happy to offer an update on Heesch numbers! If you want to save time, you can skip right to the paper I wrote, or experiment with the associated dataset. Back in 2017, I wrote a series of four …

Hexagonal Cross Stitch

At least year’s Bridges Conference in Stockholm, I attended a short presentation by Susan Goldstine about “self-diagramming lace”. As motivation for the new work she was presenting, Susan referenced her paper from the year before on what she calls “symmetry samplers”. Samplers are an old tradition in fibre arts. A …

The Tactile libraries

I developed a new open-source software library for manipulating isohedral tilings, based on the work I did on this topic during my PhD. The library is available in C++ and Javascript, and I offer a few fun automated and interactive demo programs that anybody can use to play with isohedral tilings.

Heesch Numbers, Part 4: Edge-to-Edge Pentagons

This post is the fourth and final one in a series about Heesch numbers. ¬†Part 1 was a general introduction, and would be a good starting point if you’re unfamiliar with the topic. Part 2 covered exhaustive computations of Heesch numbers of polyominoes and polyiamonds, and likely isn’t needed to …