Nan-Wei Gong Thesis Defense

July 24, 2013


MIT Media Lab, E14-244


We live in a world where everyday artifacts are designed and augmented as media interfaces. Technologies are created based on this mission, which enable us to sense, interact, and communicate with objects. Since the design and deployment of any interactive sensing system requires pre-defined content and sensor mapping between the hardware and software systems, having a platform that is low-cost but highly customizable, flexible, and capable of multimodal sensing and ad hoc sensing alteration will present great opportunities for the development of novel interactive applications. Nan-Wei Gong envisions a platform that provides designers and engineers to construct an interactive space with a graphic design approach. A library of sensing elements, which allows users to define the resolution of each element in any computer-aided design (CAD) software and implement the area and shape of the sensing element matrix while integrating the artistic aspect of design into our everyday objects. A sensing surface can be quickly printed with a conductive inkjet printer and the shape and modalities can be modified as the product development and interaction design progress. In this thesis, Nan-Wei Gong explored the creation of low-cost flexible electronic skin specifically designed for customized human-computer interfaces (HCI). The case studies include her work in flexible electronics, which demonstrate the idea in different scales and scenarios. Her dissertation work aims at constructing customizable sensate surfaces that combines additive and subtractive fabrication methods with sensing capabilities especially designed for HCI gestural detection such as pressure, touch, folding, proximity sensing and galvanic skin response. Finally, the concept of having low-cost, customizable electronic skin could be easily go beyond user interfaces into many other areas such as smart building materials and wearable computing.

Host/Chair: Joseph A. Paradiso


Pattie Maes, Jürgen Steimle

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