Interactive Materials: Creating Interfaces with Rich Physical Properties Through Digital Fabrication

Jürgen Steimle
DFP Classroom - FSC 2300

Real-world materials present rich properties that are still largely unsupported by computer interfaces. How can we realize interfaces that blend in with their physical or bodily environment? How can we integrate interfaces with the many materials available, with varied geometries, and make them compatible with mechanical properties, such as softness and stretchability?  

This talk presents our research on Interactive Materials: materials that capture user input and provide in-situ output by means of seamlessly embedded sensors, displays and actuators. They enable user interfaces with fundamentally new physical properties in terms of form factor, elasticity, and location of use.

I will present methods to realize various types of Interactive Materials through digital fabrication. I will further present Interactive Materials for use on the body that turn human skin into an interactive I/O surface for mobile and eyes-free interaction. Lastly, the talk will discuss recent results and future directions for computational design tools that offer support for designing Interactive Materials with desired properties at a high level of abstraction.