Research: Fabricating Interactions
As a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) lab in the area of manufacturing and design, we develop novel fabrication techniques that combine innovations in hardware, materials, and computational algorithms to create interactions with objects that have not been possible before. Every day we interact with hundreds of objects. What our objects can be used for and how we use them, has a large impact on how we live our everyday lives. Many of the properties of our objects and thus the resulting interactions we have with them are determined by the materials they are made of and the manufacturing techniques used to make them. Our work develops novel fabrication techniques that leverage innovations in hardware, materials, and computational algorithms to give objects capabilities that go beyond the type of interactions that exist today.
Recently Accepted Papers
Style2Fab: Functionality-Aware Segmentation for Fabricating Personalized 3D Models with Generative AI
In Proceedings of UIST 2023.
MagKnitic: Machine-knitted Passive and Interactive Haptics Textiles with Integrated Binary Sensing.
In Proceedings of UIST 2023.
StructCode: Leveraging Fabrication Artifacts to Store Data in Laser-Cut Objects.
In Proceedings of SCF 2023.
Objects with Interactive Appearances
We investigate what interactions become possible when physical objects are able to change their appearance. We develop computational fabrication techniques that create appearance-changing objects using photochromic dyes that can create multi-color textures that are reprogrammable on-demand; high-resolution multi-color 3D printing to fabricate lenticular lenses across an object’s surface to enable viewpoint-based appearance changes; birefringent materials that creates rotation-based appearance changes via polarized light mosaics; and optical illusions to create animated physical photographs.
Tracking Interactions via Markers
To keep objects passive while still being able to track interactions with them, we explore fabrication techniques that create invisible markers from infrared-translucent filament that can be tracked with IR cameras, create identifiable surface features based on artifacts of slicing and 3D printing that can be tracked with regular cameras, leverage existing surface features of materials via speckle imaging with a lens-less image sensor, or use magnetic pixels that can be read using hall effect sensors and viewed under magnetic viewing film.
Embedding Sensing into Objects
Capturing interactions where they occur on an object can be challenging for curved, deformable, and moving object geometries. We develop fabrication techniques that integrate sensing with moving parts such as mechanisms where sensors and wires can interfere with the object function, deformable objects where sensors are difficult to adhere, and large-scale objects where current sensors are not able to capture the interaction wholistically.
Prototyping on Curved Surfaces
Prototyping physical user interface is an essential process for product designers to explore new user interface designs. Rapid prototyping of which electronic components to use and where to place them, however, is challenging on curved object geometries. To address this issue, we developed novel types of breadboards that are flexible and curved, new electronic design tools for reforming existing sensor modules, and visualization tools to preview sensor coverage before physically building the prototype.
There is a rapidly growing group of people learning fabrication and crafting skills. Without tools that support them, these learners are often left to discover the challenges and pitfalls through trial and error. To facilitate learning new skills, we developed computational design software that extracts the most difficult steps in a design and generates additional practice steps and also previews the amount of material that a design will take.
Prototyping Health Sensing Devices
Designing health sensing devices that are customized to each user, both in their shape to fit the user’s body and in their health sensing functions, is a challenging problem. We developed a prototyping environment to design customized wearable devices that can monitor which muscles a user is engaging and how much they are tensed, which is required for applications, such as monitoring patient’s exercises in at-home physical rehabilitation and monitoring athletes to prevent overstraining their muscles.
We publish our research at the premier venues for Human Computer Interaction ACM CHI and ACM UIST. Full Publication List
We have advised more than 200 undergraduate research projects and 25 master thesis in the last years. 12 students received MIT EECS Best Undergraduate Researcher and Best Master Thesis Awards. How to Work with Us
To get prepared for research in our lab, consider taking our AUS class '6.810 Engineering Interactive Technologies', which teaches computational fabrication skills, electronics, and design. Class Overview
Our lab maintains a directory of related work in computational fabrication, which can be helpful when starting in our research field. FabPub Website