We present Senspectra, a computationally augmented physical modeling toolkit designed for sensing and visualization of structural strain. Senspectra seeks to explore a new direction in computational materiality, incorporating the material quality of malleable elements of an interface into its digital control structure. The system functions as a decentralized sensor network consisting of nodes, embedded with computational capabilities and a full spectrum LED, and flexible joints. Each joint functions as an omnidirectional bend sensing mechanism to sense and communicate mechanical strain between neighboring nodes. Using Senspectra, a user incrementally assembles and refines a physical 3D model of discrete elements with a real-time visualization of structural strain. While the Senspectra infrastructure provides a flexible modular sensor network platform, its primary application derives from the need to couple physical modeling techniques utilized in architecture and design disciplines with systems for structural engineering analysis. This offers direct manipulation augmented with visual feedback for an intuitive approach to physical real-time finite element analysis, particularly for organic forms.
Vincent LeClerc, Amanda Parkes, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2007. Senspectra: a computationally augmented physical modeling toolkit for sensing and visualization of structural strain. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 801-804. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/1240624.1240744