Concrete is the single most widely used material in the world. And yet there are very few examples of DIY projects utilizing it.
I have been experimenting with embedding sensors, lights and magnetic material in cement. While I am not quite ready to publish the work yet, here is a sneak peek of what’s to come.
Discovered Lamps – I encased laser cut acrylic lamps in cement. The idea is that you would chisel away the cement and rediscover the lamp. It would, therefore, be more of a ‘your lamp’.
Magnetic cement – I added iron powder to cement and shaped it using magnets. This results in completely novel structures which would be difficult to produce any other way.
Embedded sensing – I embedded capacitive sensors into concrete and was able to produce touch sensitive concrete.
3D shape reconstruction – This is the capstone of the project, I invented a novel way to convert the 3D shape of cement into a CAD model with only embedded sensing, in real time. So, the idea is that as you’re sculpting a block of cement, it is being rendered on a computer screen as well. You can also show the data with light pipes embedded in the cement to, for example, make a sculpting student replicate a shape. I can’t go into technical details quite yet, because I’m writing a paper on the technique.
I have delivered three workshops on working with concrete and am cementing(pun intended) a week-long course. If you’re interested in working with concrete, I’d love to talk to you.