Computationally Mediated Physical Fabrication

Advances in digital fabrication have simultaneously created new capabilities while reinforcing outdated workflows that constrain how, and by whom, these fabrication tools are used. In this work, we investigate how a new class of hybrid controlled machines can collaborate with novice and expert users alike to yield a more lucid making experience. We demonstrate these ideas through our system, Turn-by-Wire. By combining the capabilities of a traditional lathe with haptic input controllers that modulate both position and force, we detail a series of novel interaction metaphors that invite a more fluid making process spanning digital, model-centric, computer control, and embodied, adaptive, human control. We evaluate our system through a user study and discuss how these concepts generalize...

New Making Renaissance
Lucid Fabrication

Advances in digital fabrication have created new capabilities and simultaneously reinforced outdated workflows. In my thesis work, I primarily explore alternative workflows for digital fabrication that introduce new capabilities and interactions. Methodologically, I build fabrication systems spanning mechanical design, electronics, and software in order to examine these ideas in specific detail. In this paper, I introduce related work and frame it within the historical context of digital fabrication, and discuss my previous and ongoing work.

New Making Renaissance
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Hybrid Microgenetic Analysis
Using Activity Codebooks to Identify and Characterize Creative Process

Tacit knowledge is a type of knowledge often existing in one's subconscious or embodied in muscle memory. Such knowledge is pervasive in creative practices yet remains difficult to observe or codify. To better understand tacit knowledge, we introduce a design method that leverages time-series data (interaction logs, physical sensor, and biosignal data) to isolate unique actions and behaviors between groups of users. This method is enacted in Eluent, a tool that distills hundreds of hours of dense activity data using an activity segmentation algorithm into a codebook – a set of distinct, characteristic sequences that comprise an activity. The results are made visually parsable in a representation we term process chromatograms that aid with 1) highlighting distinct periods of activity in...

C&C 2019 PDF
New Making Renaissance
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Use Your Head!
Exploring Interaction Modalities for Hat Technologies

As our landscape of wearable technologies proliferates, we find more devices situated on our heads. However, many challenges hinder them from widespread adoption — from their awkward, bulky form factor (today’s AR and VR goggles) to their socially stigmatized designs (Google Glass) and a lack of a well-developed head-based interaction design language. In this paper, we explore a socially acceptable, large, head-worn interactive wearable — a hat. We report results from a gesture elicitation study with 17 participants, extract a taxonomy of gestures, and define a set of design concerns for interactive hats. Through this lens, we detail the design and fabrication of three hat prototypes capable of sensing touch, head movements, and gestures, and including ambient displays of several types....

DIS 2019 PDF
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Crafting Resistive Heaters within Thermoreactive Composites

Hybrid practices are emerging that integrate creative materials like paint, clay, and cloth with intangible immaterials like computation, electricity, and heat. This work aims to expand the design potential of immaterial elements by transforming them into manipulatable, observable and intuitive materials. We explore one such immaterial, electric heat, and develop a maker-friendly fabrication pipeline and crafting support tool that allows users to experientially compose resistive heaters that generate heat spatially and temporally. These heaters are then used to couple heat and thermoreactive materials in a class of artifacts we term Thermoreactive Composites (TrCs). In a formal user study, we observe how designing fabrication workflows along dimensions of composability and...

DIS 2019 PDF
New Making Renaissance
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A Conversation with Actuators
An Exploratory Design Environment for Hybrid Materials

An exciting, expanding palette of hybrid materials is emerging that can be programmed to actuate by a range of external and internal stimuli. However, there exists a dichotomy between the physicality of the actuators and the intangible computational signal that is used to program them. For material practitioners, this lack of physical cues limits their ability to engage in a "conversation with materials" (CwM). This paper presents a creative workstation for supporting this epistemological style by bringing a stronger physicality to the computational signal and balance the conversation between physical and digital actors. The station utilizes a streaming architecture to distribute control across multiple devices and leverage the rich spatial cognition that a physical space affords....

TEI 2019 PDF
New Making Renaissance
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Statement Making
A Maker Fashion Show Foregrounding Feminism, Gender, and Transdisciplinarity

Maker culture has been increasingly pervasive in a variety of communities and contexts, in particular devoted spaces such as Makerspaces, Hackerspaces and Fab Labs. Several people, however, have pointed out that while one of the values of these spaces is radical inclusion, the general Maker culture can be exclusive to some based on gender, race, and socioeconomic status. With the goal of disrupting existing Maker culture by developing, diversifying, and empowering our own university Maker community, we created a semi-structured making experience that we call Statement Making. Statement Making is a Maker Fashion show that we invited anyone from the community to participate in by "making a statement" for them or a friend to wear in a runway show. We report outcomes and experiences of...

DIS 2018 PDF
Honorable Mention
Guardians of Practice
A Contextual Inquiry of Failure-Mitigation Strategies within Creative Practices

Failure, whether it be “complete-and-utter” or “a minor set-back”, occurs in a variety of different creative practices, yet how it is perceived, handled, and recovered from is a lesser explored design space. Failing to address these perceptions of failure can have psychological repercussions, discourage users from continuing a practice, and form cultural stigma such as those associated with STEM fields. However, mediating practices to develop a culture of resiliency and perseverance is key to sustaining a (lifelong) practice and reshaping pedagogical strategies. In this work, we outline the design space of “guardians”, or elements of a creative practice that mitigate the psychological effects of failure. Through a contextual inquiry, we contribute an inventory of failure-mitigation...

DIS 2018 PDF
New Making Renaissance
Hybrid Aesthetics
Design of New Media Practices within Digital Fabrication

Practices are emerging which blend both physical and computational techniques and materials. This thesis contributes a framework for understanding how to compose these hybrid elements into rich, reflective new media practices that expand the aesthetic repertoire and facilitate the adoption, sharing, and teaching of hybrid techniques.

DIS 2018 PDF
New Making Renaissance
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Woodworking through Improvisational Digital Fabrication

Digital fabrication tools have broadened participation in making and enabled new methods of rapid physical prototyping across diverse materials. We present a novel smart tool designed to complement one of the first materials employed by humans — wood — and celebrate the fabrication practice of joinery. Our tool, MatchSticks, is a digital fabrication system tailored for joinery. Combining a portable CNC machine, touchscreen user interface, and parametric joint library, MatchSticks enables makers of varying skill to rapidly explore and create artifacts from wood. Our system embodies tacit woodworking knowledge and distills the distributed workflow of CNC tools into a hand tool; it operates on materials existing machines find difficult, produces assemblies much larger than its workspace,...

CHI 2018 PDF
Honorable Mention
New Making Renaissance
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Battery-Free Wearable Displays for Opportunistic Interactions

As the landscape of wearable devices continues to expand, power remains a major issue for adoption, usability, and miniaturization. Users are faced with an increasing number of personal devices to manage, charge, and care for. In this work, we argue that power constraints limit the design space of wearable devices. We present AlterWear: an architecture for new wearable devices that implement a batteryless design using electromagnetic induction via NFC and bistable e-ink displays. Although these displays are active only when in proximity to an NFC-enabled device, this unique combination of hardware enables both quick, dynamic and long-term interactions with persistent visual displays. We demonstrate new wearables enabled through AlterWear with dynamic, fashion-forward, and expressive...

CHI 2018 PDF
Cosmetic Computing
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Human Hair as Interactive Material

Human hair is a cultural material, with a rich history displaying individuality, cultural expression and group identity. It is malleable in length, color and style, highly visible, and embedded in a range of personal and group interactions. As wearable technologies move ever closer to the body, and embodied interactions become more common and desirable, hair presents a unique and little-explored site for novel interactions. In this paper, we present an exploration and working prototype of hair as a site for novel interaction, leveraging its position as something both public and private, social and personal, malleable and permanent. We develop applications and interactions around this new material in HäirIÖ: a novel integration of hair-based technologies and braids that combine...

TEI 2018 PDF
Cosmetic Computing
Illumination Aesthetics
Light as a Creative Material within Computational Design

Recent digital fabrication tools have enabled new form-giving using a wide range of physical materials. However, light as a first class creative material has been largely ignored within the design of our electronic objects. Our work expands the illumination design space by treating light as a physical material. We introduce a digital design tool that simulates and visualizes physical light interactions with a variety of materials for creating custom luminaires. We further develop a computational design and fabrication process for creating custom secondary optics elements (SOEs), which provides additional handles for users to physically shape and redirect light to compose, fill, and evenly diffuse planar and volumetric geometries. Through a workshop study with novice electronic...

CHI 2017 PDF
Best Paper
New Making Renaissance
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Ambient, Batteryless, Stateful, Dynamic Displays at your Fingertips

Beyond phones, watches, and activity tracking devices, a new ecosystem of functional and fashionable wearable technologies can easily, safely, and economically be designed, prototyped, and integrated directly on the body. In this paper, we present AlterNail, a fingernail form factor, ambient, low-power, stateful, wireless, dynamic display with onboard vibrational sensing. AlterNail integrates a batteryless design using inductive coupling with e-ink technology to enable both quick dynamic and long-term static fingernail based visual designs without the need for power. We also detail the use of simple vibrational signals to uniquely identify everyday objects as they are handled using AlterNails. The intentionally limited interactional functionality of AlterNails, coupled with the rich...

CHI 2017 PDF
Cosmetic Computing
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Designing classification-based citizen science learning modules

In this paper, we introduce Crowdclass, a novel method that integrates the learning of advanced scientific concepts with the crowdsourcing microtask of image classification. In Crowdclass, we design the questions to serve as both a learning experience and a scientific classification. This is different from conventional citizen science platforms which decompose high-level questions into a series of simple microtasks that require no scientific background knowledge to complete. We facilitate learning within the microtask by providing content that is appropriate for the participant’s level of knowledge through scaffolding learning. We conduct a between-group study of 93 participants on Amazon Mechanical Turk comparing Crowdclass to the popular citizen science project Galaxy Zoo. We find...

Citizen Science
Aesthetic Electronics
Designing, Sketching, and Fabricating Circuits through Digital Exploration

As interactive electronics become increasingly intimate and personal, the design of the circuitry is correspondingly developing a more playful and creative aesthetic. Circuit sketching and design is a multidimensional activity combining the arts, crafts, and engineering that broadens participation of electronic creation to include makers of diverse backgrounds. In order to support this design ecology, we present Ellustrate, a digital design tool that enables the functional and aesthetic design of electronic circuits with multiple conductive and dielectric materials. Ellustrate guides users through the fabrication and debugging process, easing the task of practical circuit creation while supporting designers’ aesthetic decisions throughout the circuit authoring workflow. In a formal user...

New Making Renaissance
Supporting Crafting Practice through Physical Computational Proxies

Advances in digital fabrication (DF) technologies are making it easier to produce high-fidelity replicas of digital designs. However, this push-to-print paradigm limits the creative opportunities that arise from “working through a material” which involves risk, uncertainty, and serendipitous discovery. We investigate how DF artifacts can function as static intermediary tools, which we term proxies, to support crafting practice. We focus on the wire-wrapping process, where physical wire is bent into complex shapes, and build DF fixtures to aid with construction and fabrication and explore how these proxies can provide users with different levels-of-assistance. In a user study, we evaluated how these proxies affect the making process and uncovered methodological distinctions between...

DIS 2016 PDF
Honorable Mention
New Making Renaissance
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Designing and Creating Epidermal Interactions

Skintillates is a wearable technology that mimics tattoos - the oldest and most commonly used on-skin displays in human culture. We demonstrate that by fabricating electrical traces and thin electronics on temporary tattoo paper, a wide array of displays and sensors can be created. Just like the traditional temporary tattoos often worn by children and adults alike, Skintillates flex naturally with the user's skin. Our simple fabrication technique also enables users to freely design and print with a full range of colors to create application-specific customized designs.

DIS 2016 PDF
Honorable Mention
Cosmetic Computing
Leveraging Theatricality for an Expressive Internet of Things

LiveObjects approaches expressive object design from the lens of art theory and creates a series of IoT data objects that utilize theatricality, or the perception of an object having presence, to provoke new interactions between objects, viewers, and space. This approach utilizes actuation, materials and everyday objects to express social data. We showcase how such objects can form unique expressive personalities, expose relational data, and perturb environments to form information spaces.

DIS Companion 2016 PDF
New Media
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Biosignals as Social Cues
Ambiguity and emotional interpretation in social displays of skin conductance

We explore the social meaning of clothing-based displays of biosignals. How do friends make sense of their own and each other's skin conductance display in the context of a conversation? We developed Hint, a dynamic thermochromic t-shirt with ambiguous patterns that change color when its wearer's skin conductance increases, an indication of sudden arousal. We investigated how pairs of friends, each wearing the shirt, conversed and interpreted the display. Participants shared interpretations and emotions such as joy and embarrassment were associated with an increase in skin conductance. Participants expressed desires for their skin conductance displays to help validate their feelings and show emotional engagement with others. We explore ambiguity in the context of clothing-based...

DIS 2016 PDF
Cosmetic Computing
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I Don’t Want to Wear a Screen
Probing Perceptions of and Possibilities for Dynamic Displays on Clothing

This paper explores the role dynamic textile displays play in relation to personal style: What does it mean to wear computationally responsive clothing and why would one be motivated to do so? We developed a novel textile display technology, called Ebb, and created several woven and crochet fabric swatches that explored clothing-specific design possibilities. We engaged fashion designers and non-designers in imagining how Ebb would integrate into their design practice or personal style of dressing. Participants evaluated the appeal and utility of clothing-based displays according to a very different set of criteria than traditional screen-based computational displays. Specifically, the slowness, low-resolution, and volatility of Ebb tended to be seen as assets as opposed to technical...

CHI 2016 PDF
Best Paper
Cosmetic Computing
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Personal, Portable, Accurate Airborne Particle Counting

In 2012, air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to have caused 3.7 million premature deaths. The primary pollutant was small airborne particulate matter of 10 microns or less in diameter which led to the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. In response, we developed MyPart, the first personal, portable, accurate, open source air particle sensor. We demonstrate how MyPart offers substantial enhancements over most existing air particle sensors by simultaneously improving accessibility, flexibility, portability, and accuracy. We describe the evolution and implementation of the sensor design, demonstrate its performance across everyday urban environments versus a calibrated instrument, and conduct a preliminary user study to report on the overall user...

CHI 2016 PDF
Citizen Science
Designing Feel Aesthetics for 3D Printing

Digital fabrication has enabled massive creativity in hobbyist communities and professional product design. These emerging technologies excel at realizing an arbitrary shape or form; however these objects are often rigid and lack the feel desired by designers. We aim to enable physical haptic design in passive 3D printed objects. This paper identifies two core areas for extending physical design into digital fabrication: designing the external and internal haptic characteristics of an object. We present HapticPrint as a pair of design tools to easily modify the feel of a 3D model. Our external tool maps textures and UI elements onto arbitrary shapes, and our internal tool modifies the internal geometry of models for novel compliance and weight characteristics. We demonstrate the value...

New Making Renaissance
Designing Expressive 3D Models for Digital Fabrication

MetaMorphe is a novel digital fabrication framework that uses a common web-programming metaphor to enable users to easily transform static 3D models into re-formed, re-made, and re-imagined customized personal artifacts.

C&C 2015 PDF
New Making Renaissance
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Being The Machine
Reconfiguring Agency and Control in Hybrid Fabrication

Being the Machine is a system that asks humans to receive, interpret and execute the G-Code instructions typically provided to a 3D printer in order to construct new objects. In essence, Being the Machine makes the human user into a 3D printer. Technically, it consists of a laser pointer that illuminates a single dot on a surface. The dot moves along the tool-paths generated from a digital model that the human has inputted, showing the human how a 3D printer would lay down material and inviting them to follow by hand – for the human, this feels like a game of connect-the-dots, and upon completion of the task ‘described’ by the laser pointing machine, the human has sculpted a three-dimensional object. The materials used by humans to craft objects with the Being the Machine system have...

CHI 2015 PDF
Best Paper
New Making Renaissance
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Making Multiple Uses of the Obscura 1C Digital Camera
Reflecting on the Design, Production, Packaging and Distribution of a Counterfunctional Device

This project describes and explains details of the design, production and packaging of a counterfunctional device: The Obscura 1C Digital Camera. We further describe a small-scale distribution of Obscura 1C packages into everyday contexts. The paper then reflects on the various types of conceptual, imaginary and firsthand uses made of the Obscura 1C. These include its uses for everyday audiences as a unique camera and as a conceptually usable device. But we also prioritize uses particular to the HCI and design audience. These include using the Obscura 1C to articulate the concepts of inhibitive interfaces, counterfunctionality, and enabling limitations. The Obscura 1C is further used to articulate how abstract ideas can be translated into material forms, to rethink the role of ...

CHI 2015 PDF
Liquid Mediated Vision-Based Touch Surfaces

Fluid User Interfaces (Fl.UIs) are liquid-based touch surfaces that use computer-vision to detect and interpret a range of tactile user inputs. While Fl.UIs have less input resolution than digital touch screens, they provide an excellent low-cost solution for rapidly prototyping non-rectilinear screen designs as well as exploring novel surface interaction techniques. Fabricated on a laser cutter using low-cost materials, Fl.UIs use unique shape outlines to displace an internal colored liquid to regions-of-interest for a camera. This paper presents a set of software tools that help users rapidly design, fabricate and author interactions with Fl.UIs. The robust construction and an unpowered surface makes Fl.UIs well-suited for outdoor and public installations. The Fl.UIs prototyping tool...

TEI 2015 PDF
New Making Renaissance
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Biological Citizen Publics
Personal Genetics as a Site of Public Engagement with Science

Low-cost genetic sequencing, coupled with novel social media platforms and visualization techniques, present a new frontier for scientific participation, whereby people can learn, share, and act on data embedded within their own bodies. Our study of 23andMe, a popular genetic testing service, reveals how users make sense of and contextualize their genetic results, critique and evaluate the underlying research, and reflect on the broader implications of genetic testing. We frame user groups as citizen science publicsgroups that coalesce around scientific issues and work towards resolving shared concerns. Our findings show that personal genetics serves as a site for public engagement with science, whereby communities of biological citizens creatively interpret, debate, and act on...

C&C 2015 PDF
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Here, Near, Out There

Sensory Triptych is a set of exploratory, interactive sensors designed for children that invite “new ways of seeing” our world from the perspective of the here (the earth, air, and water around us), near (things just out of sight), and out there (orbiting satellites and space junk) using familiar and novel interfaces, affordances, and narratives. We present a series of novel physical design prototypes that reframe sensing technologies for children that foster an early adoption of technology usage for exploring, understanding, communicating, sharing, and changing our world. Finally, we discuss how such designs expand the potential opportunities and landscapes for our future interactive systems and experiences within the UIST community.

Citizen Science
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Sketching, Shrinking, and Formgiving for Electronic Circuits

ShrinkyCircuits is a novel circuit prototyping technique that enables children to experienced engineers to create durable circuit boards that come in any desired color, shape, and form. This fabrication utilizes a commonly used thermoplastic material, ShrinkyDink, as the circuit substrate. This allows users to freely draw and paint to decorate the substrate, and sketch the circuit with commercially available conductive pens. The results are beautiful, fun, and relatively-durable circuit boards that cannot be achieved by traditional PCB or other circuit sketching methods. As a bonus, the conductive ink wraps around the electronic components as the substrate shrinks, thus forming a solder joint around the through-hole components during the heating (with oven or craft heat gun) process -...

New Making Renaissance