Spatial Physical Computing with the Gluons

Latest hardware improvements on transceivers supporting Low Power Wide Area Networks (LP-WAN) make it feasible to connect small battery powered devices hundred (or even thousands) of meters apart. We propose a physical computing paradigm fully exploiting this novel technology dubbed Spatial Physical Computing (SPC). An SPC system leverages not only natural manipulation typically used on TUI and construction kits, but also integrates the necessary deambulation (around a building or a city) in the process of creating, testing and tuning a distributed smart sensor/actuator network.

The overall system is a compound of (an unlimited) set of independent data-processing nodes supporting an event-driven data-flow programming scheme. Module-to-module connection is first established by bringing the modules in physical contact; from that moment on, the modules communicate using LPWAN (LoRA), up to thousands of meters. We demonstrated how such networks can be deployed – i.e. spatially programmed – through intuitive physical gestures, and studied the unique qualities and challenges of Spatial Physical Computing.


  1. Data Flow, Spatial Physical Computing. Alvaro Cassinelli and Daniel Saakes. In TEI ’17. 2017. [doi] [bib]
  2. Project proposal and roadmap for CEIBAL (PDF), Alvaro Cassinelli, Montevideo 1/5/2016.


  1. Software and Hardware (Github).
  2. Media (pictures and videos)