The FLEX cluster provides a flexible, transdisciplinary environment for developing prototypes, building custom deployments, and engaging in collaborative problem-solving. Because heritage objects come in a variety of unexpected shapes, sizes, and conditions, they do not always fit into the scientific instrumentation in the BENCH cluster. We’ve created the FLEX cluster to be a reconfigurable environment that offers unique instrumentation built around the heritage objects. It is also the locus of our interdisciplinary training and education program that includes hands-on demonstration and experimentation. FLEX represents true convergence as it creatively blends various disciplines in a coordinated, reciprocal way so as to foster the robust collaborations needed for successful inquiry.

FLEX consists of:

  • An X-ray Hutch for X-ray-based tomography and other advanced techniques that rely on ionizing radiation (XRF). Customized arrangements of X-ray sources, detectors, sample stages, and other equipment to allow non-destructive, non-injurious micro-CT scanning and other imaging of heritage objects. 
  • A Design Hutch for custom imaging configurations with non-ionizing radiation – digital photography, multi-/hyperspectral photography, and photogrammetry. 
  • A co-design and data analysis/visualization lab called “Vision Space”  that serves as the transdisciplinary collaborative hub integrating the end-to-end capabilities and expertise of EduceLab. It will serve as the locus for identifying and documenting best practices; educating users and students on instrument-level and integrated measurement; providing project/user intake and user training on equipment; co-designing experiments; problem solving for unique heritage object measurement scenarios; and computing for processing, analyzing, visualizing, and modeling the collected data.

FLEX instrumentation includes a variety of X-ray sources and detectors, a set of cameras and spectral incident light sources, motion stages for precise sample mounting and control, and training equipment, all of which will together provide hands-on scenarios for internships and educational development.