Hello from the interactive structures lab!

We investigate and develop interactive computational design tools that enable digital fabrication of complex structures for novice users. Interactive structures embed functionality within their geometry such that they can react to simple input with complex behavior. Such structures enable materials that can, e.g., embed robotic movement, can perform computations, or communicate with users.

HCI + computational geometry + engineering + design

We focus on material discovery by broadening participation. We develop optimization-based interactive design tools that enable novices to contribute their creativity and experts to apply their intuition in order to foster the advancement of high-tech materials. We investigate the entire pipeline, i.e., their mechanical structure, the algorithms for efficient design, the unforeseen application areas and fabrication methods.

The Interactive Structures lab is led by Prof. Alexandra Ion at CMU HCII.
Reach out to join the team. CMU students, see current research opportunities.


Recent Awards

Nov 8, 2023

Violet received a Best Paper Award for her work on BlendMR. Her first paper she ever submitted! Well-deserved, Violet!

Jesse received a Best Demo Award at UIST'23 for his impressive Contstraint-Diven Robotic Surfaces. It was a big effort bringing them across the country and a well-deserved honor!

Huge congratulations to Violet and Jesse!

selected publications

See all publications.

Parametric Haptics: Versatile Geometry-based Tactile Feedback Devices

Violet Yinuo Han, Abena Boadi-Agyemang, Yuyu Lin, David Lindlbauer, Alexandra Ion.

In Proceedings of UIST ’23. San Francisco, CA. Oct. 29 – Nov. 1, 2023

 paper  doi video project page 

Developable Metamaterials: Mass-fabricable Metamaterials by Laser-Cutting Elastic Structures

Madlaina Signer, Alexandra Ion, Olga Sorkine-Hornung.

In Proceedings of CHI ’21. Virtual conference (formerly Yokohama, Japan). May 8 – 13, 2021

 paper  doi video project page 
source code

Understanding Metamaterial Mechanisms

Alexandra Ion, David Lindlbauer, Philipp Herholz, Marc Alexa, Patrick Baudisch.

In Proceedings of CHI’19. Glasgow, UK, May 4 – 9, 2019

 paper  doi video project page 

Digital Mechanical Metamaterials

Alexandra Ion, Ludwig Wall, Robert Kovacs, Patrick Baudisch.

In Proceedings of CHI’17. Denver, CO, May 6 – 11, 2017

 paper  doi video project page 

Metamaterial Mechanisms

Alexandra Ion, Johannes Frohnhofen, Ludwig Wall, Robert Kovacs, Mirela Alistar, Jack Lindsay, Pedro Lopes, Hsiang-Ting Chen, Patrick Baudisch.

In Proceedings of UIST'16. Tokyo, Japan, October 16 – 19, 2016

Best Paper Honorable Mention (top 2%)

 paper  doi video project page 
source code try our editor 3D models talk press images (113 MB)