Deployable Infrastructure in Support of Science and Education

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Virginia Tech


P.L.U.G. is a prototypical solution to a highly specialized design problem that emerged in support of remote biological field research in the Mahale mountains of Western Tanzania. In collaboration with researchers from the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's (VMRCVM) Bush to Base Bioinformatics(B2B) group a team of students and faculty from the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design designed, constructed, tested, and deployed the mobile field laboratory which houses up to four researchers and includes clean laboratory space, living accommodation, autonomous electricity generation, and a satellite-based communications network. P.L.U.G. consists of two primary elements, a rigid enclosed laboratory and fabric super structure that are constructed using a series of functionally-complex building components that are designed to be carried and assembled by two researchers, in one day, without the use of tools. (Kaur etal. 2007) The resulting system can be mass produced and utilized in the establishment of infrastructure in remote, environmentally sensitive, and unstable environments and has implication in disaster relief housing, human heath stations, remote research, mobile educational facilities, and any other environment or event that requires rapidly deployable, self-sufficient infrastructure.

The prototype laboratory was successfully deployed during the summer of 2007 and has been field tested by the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) Bush-2-Base Bioinformatics (B2B) research group. Currently the laboratory program exists as part of a newly developed long-term research initiative surrounding Deployable Infrastructure in Support of Science and Education (DISSed Lab) initiated by the author in response to perceived demand for such accommodation.



Portable, Deployable, Digital Fabrication, Remote research, Laboratory, Design Research, Modular Construction, User Assembly