There is a constant two-way conversation between the developer, David Rutten, and Grasshopper users through the grasshopper forum, providing Rutten with first hand knowledge of the interests of people who work with this software. This special relationship with users has extended to outside developers who are encouraged to create plug-ins that expand the reach of the grasshopper platform. Expansions into territories outside mainstream architecture now include connections with database spreadsheets and tabular data available through the internet, ability to link with real-time data flows, connections to mapping platforms, connections to data resulting from energy simulations, the ability to interface with sensors and motors to create active physical prototypes, etc.
We have used many plug-ins in this work. Some of them, such as hoopsnake, kangaroo physics, mesh edit, paneling tools, and tree8, add to the general functionality of grasshopper. The plug-ins that pertain to the specific needs of this research are:
real time data and active physical prototypes: Firefly