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UIST 2023

Decomposable Interactive Systems

Katherine W. Song



As sustainability becomes an increasingly pressing concern across disciplines, the design and fabrication communities within HCI are rapidly discovering and sharing a wealth of novel materials, tools, and workflows, allowing us to make physical artifacts that are more eco-friendly than ever before. Still, sustainability and functionality are often at odds with one another when it comes to the design of interactive systems, with most systems still relying on conventional electronic components that must be extracted and individually handled at end of life. My work offers approaches for designing decomposable interactive systems that are made with materials that are widely available, safe, and even edible, empowering the “everyday designer” to make sustainable systems for applications that do not demand long operation times or high power. Enabled by the growing ecosystem of decomposable materials and systems, I also propose new opportunities for designing for unmaking, a counterpart to making that opens the opaque, industrial processes of recycling and composting as rich design spaces to encourage further engagement and critical reflection around themes of sustainability, materiality, and consumption.



HEL Authors:


Katherine Song

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