Art of Science 2010 Online Gallery  «Prev | Thumbnails | Next »

Smiley Jack’s “Ouch!”
Branko Glisic (fac) and Yao Yao (GS)
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Civil structures can tell us when they feel bad, but it is necessary to design them smarter, i.e., to provide them with a nervous system that can detect when the structure is highly strained or cracked. The strain-gauge we installed on the concrete was supposed to tell us that the concrete cracked, but we didn’t really expect it to say “ouch”! We figured out that our strain-gauge was actually in distress only after looking through a magnifying glass, when we spotted his upset face and electrified hair. As he got personality, first we called him Smiley, but then we figured Jack-o'-lantern might be more appropriate. Now he is known as Smiley Jack and he says “ouch” when the structure is damaged. Isn’t he simply a great fellow who makes our structures smarter and safer?