Conductive Soft Materials
Smart Material Toolkits Track
Embedding electronics within silicone rubber and other soft materials show large promise for creating interactive, soft, flexible, and wearable artifacts. Recent DIY techniques have demonstrated accessible and low-cost methods of creating conductive silicone using graphite powder or chopped carbon fiber. In HCI, conductive silicone has been used to improve rapid electronics prototyping techniques for on-body wearable electronics prototyping. This project aims to develop a framework for understanding the design capabilities of conductive silicone, conductive polymers and their nanocomposites, or electrically conductive gelatin hydrogels. This framework will be used to develop methods of integrating soft conductive materials within interactive artifacts.
The project goals include:
- processing biologically relevant soft conductive hydrogels, refine and streamline the conductive slurry workflow, characterize a set of primitive geometries (e.g., a sponge-like lattice)
- developing a signal processing framework for detecting different types of gestures or forces enacted on conductive geometries (e.g., detecting forces on a bicycle helmet)
- Isolating methods of integrating these geometries with existing artifacts (e.g., inside of a bicycle helmet).
The overall toolkit would be evaluated in a user study workshop assessing the open-endedness and expressivity of the toolkit.