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:

tabular data:  gHowl and LunchBox

internet connections:  gHowl, Slingshot!

real time data and active physical prototypes:  Firefly

maps and Geo:  Elk, gHowl

simulations:  DIVA, Geco

See also the Data Study and Solar Study file tree PDFs.  These reveal the plug-ins used for particular downloadable definitions.