Glassworking presents a unique opportunity to study material interactions. Molten glass relies heavily on external forces that are in constant conversation with a maker’s manipulations (e.g., gravity, centripetal, and centrifugal forces). These actions compose a choreographed dance of complex, nuanced motions that are individualized to the specific maker and vary drastically as delineated by skill or artistic process. How might we understand patterns and motifs in these actions and support skill transfer? Prior work demonstrated how an unsupervised machine learning technique could use sensor feeds (e.g., biosignal and motion data) to annotate traditional forms of ethnographic materials (e.g., video and audio recordings) to identify important periods of activity that distinguish user...
Research Experience for Undergraduates Site
Hybrid Design and Fabrication (REU-HDF)
While head-mounted displays (HMD) in AR applications show promise in creating immersive environments, their ability to facilitate collaborative interactions is inherently limited due to the cost of supporting multiple users. Spatial augmented reality such as light projection user interfaces (LPUIs) aims to augment the physical environment, as opposed to just the viewpoint of a single user, and is preferred by users of HMDs in applications such as augmented manufacturing and have been used to augmenting system status information onto a 3D printer to provide hardware support.
Current structured light projectors (e.g., LightForm) provide Photoshop-like design software for adding dynamic textures onto specific surfaces on a scene; however, the ability to prototype LPUIs remains limited....
Biomaterials in fabrication and rapid prototyping processes show promise in supporting sustainable practices. One DIYBio technique uses a film byproduct of a SCOBY-kombucha tea mixture to produce a leather-like material that offers unique and desirable properties, including biodegradability, flexibility, and tuneable translucency or surface finish. However, growing biomaterials is a slow process with limited form-giving capabilities.
The project goals include:
- Streamlining the DIY fabrication workflow for growing SCOBY leather and developing closed-feedback sensing and control of humidity, sugar levels, and temperature for the biomaterial solution;
- Refining the SCOBY desiccation process, documenting the different behaviors of solution parameters, and characterizing the...
Clay 3D printing uses a continuous deposition technique to extrude and fuse clay coils into clay forms which can be generalized to other paste-based materials including concrete, food, and silicone printing; however, this technique is limited in the geometries it can support (to prevent rupture during the ceramic firing process). Interactive CAM algorithms could allow a user to recover, repair, and reuse elements of a clay form and yield a more robust, sustainable, and expressive clay printing workflow.
Leveraging established techniques from the ceramics community, this multi-researcher project will use computational and electromechanical methods to develop interactive clay 3D printing techniques.
Project goals would examine modular G-Code decomposition, specifically:
When designing for physical objects, virtual representations and their physical counterparts rarely match. These common translational errors are often associated with limitations of the machine (e.g., tooling, CNC envelopes, kerf, tolerance) that a machinist would correct in traditional manufacturing. Researchers have explored translating physical measurement to virtual dimensions and vice versa, adjusting for tolerance and kerf in geometries to ensure snug fits, and better understanding where uncertainty in measurement occurs.
In the domain of packaging design, the cognitive load of translating physical measurements onto folding 3D forms remains a significant challenge for novice designers. This project's goals include:
- Understanding the challenges of formmaking within a...
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:
The vision that digital fabrication will one day reach the scale and popularity of desktop computing has significant implications for broadening participation in engineering and computing. As the types of materials supported by digital fabrication continue to grow, so does the need to support the development of material literacy, or a fluency in working creatively with different materials. Personal fabrication has the potential to integrate the knowledge that material practitioners have developed over centuries, yet accessing such material knowledge remains a difficult pursuit --- the canonical step-by-step tutorial struggles to communicate the information needed for users to extract generalizable and creative insights that go beyond rote step-by-step instructions.
The work builds on research in HCI aiming to retrofit existing tools with sensor capabilities.The project goals include:
- Developing a set of signal processing primitives and assess their composability to different sensing approaches (e.g., resistive, inductive, passive)
- Retrofitting a suite of tools with physiological, environmental, and inertial sensors while developing their gesture recognition capabilities.
REU participants should expect to work collaboratively with out REU projects to apply and test sensor-retrofitted tools. For instance, tools can be used to:
- sense biomaterial sugar levels in the Biomaterial Fabrication project.
- extracting position-based or gesture-based data from the Conductive Soft Materials project.
This work will result in research...