What the Fuck is FiDU?!
Two years ago, while researching digital furniture fabrication, I stumbled upon a funny
little stool named "PLOPP." After a bit of research I found out that PLOPP was made using FiDU
technology. But what the fuck is FiDU? FiDU stands for Freie Innen Druck Umformung, or Free
Inner Pressure Deformation. After a bit more research I learned that FiDU was developed by
Oskar Zieta within the chair of Computer Aided Architecture Design (CAAD) at the ETH Zürich.
The research started 10 years ago and was initially focused on bending thin sheets of
metal in order to make light weight structural components. Out of these experiments grew
furniture, sculpture, walls, and pavilions, all of which made heavy use of Computer Aided
Manufacturing (CAM) technologies.
After a few years of laser-cutting, bending machines, connector detailing and assembly,
the research moved in a different direction. Still using sheet metal, but now welding two pieces
together along their edges, structural objects were created by inflating the welded sheet metal
pieces with water.
After initial success creating playful projects using this technique, two advances were
made: switching from using water to using air for inflation, and utilizing a robot to precisely weld
the sheet metal pieces together. And then there was FiDU.
FIDU technology has been used within the CAAD department to create everything from
furniture to bridges to pavilions to wind mills. Experimentation with FiDU is ongoing and
consistently increasing in scale. It is taught within the ETHZ Department of Architecture through
Seminarwoche and as a module in the Master of Advanced Studies in Computer Aided
Architecture Design (MAS CAAD) program which is run through the CAAD chair.
The experimentation has continually collaborated with industry leaders of advanced
manufacturing technologies, including: Trumpf, Fronius, AMAG, Kuka, and Soutec.
Beyond it's experimental/educational application within the CAAD chair, FiDU has led to
the spin-off company Zieta Prozessdesign, founded by Oskar Zieta. Zieta Prozessdesign designs
and produces a successful product line using FIDU technology. These products have been
featured at the Saatchi Gallery in London, Moss in New York, the Salone Del Mobile in Milano, and
many other prominent design fairs and galleries.
For further information on FiDU Technology please visit these sites: