Daniel Smithwick, Larry Sass, and David Kirsh
In order to creatively interact with robots we need to understand how creative thinkers work with objects to explore new ideas physically. Our approach involves comparing the model-making strategies of architects with students to expose the creative extras architects bring to working with physical models. To study this we coded students and architects performing a design task. Architects differed from students along three dimensions. First, architects were more selective; they used fewer blocks overall and fewer variations. Second, architects appear to think more about spatial relationships and material constraints. Lastly, architects more often experiment with re-orientations: they position a block one way to see its relations to its neighbors; they reposition it another way to see how that changes how things look and feel. These findings suggest that designers interact with the material more effectively than students. This embodied know-how is something next generation robots can support and possibly enhance.