Past Awardee

Virtual Reality Interactive Experience for Actively Controlled and Deployable Tensegrity Footbridges

Ann Sychterz
Ann Sychterz

College: Grainger College of Engineering
Award year: 2020-2021
NCSA collaborators: Robert Sisneros

Tensegrity structures are pin-jointed systems of bars and cables held stable in a state of self-stress; they are lightweight and can change shape with minimal activation energy. Simulations of tensegrity structures are challenging to visualize and comprehend, which may prevent engineers from including these structures in their projects. By providing a virtual reality (VR) interactive environment to demonstrate to researchers, practicing engineers, students, and the general public the feasibility of a deployable and controllable tensegrity footbridge the researchers will educate people about these deployable systems. The VR interactive environment will utilize form-finding to determine the stresses and deformations of a deployable tensegrity structure, vibration characterization for damage detection, statistical model-data methods for finding potential broken elements following a damage event, and advanced computing algorithms for mitigating the effect of damage on the structure using actuation. The researchers hope this outreach will lead to advanced future technical capabilities for structural engineering in the construction industry.