Augmented Material Interfaces: Exploring bidirectional microinteractions enabled by radical elements

Heibeck, F. "Augmented Material Interfaces: Exploring bidirectional microinteractions enabled by radical elements"


Advances in material science and miniaturization of electromechanical devices are liberating the surface of the embedded device from its rigid shell. These new modes of dynamic expression have to be coupled with sensing capabilities in order to create comprehensible interactions. This thesis explores the space of augmented materials that are bidirectional transducers, called radical elements. We present currently available radical elements that facilitate embodied interactions through sensing and actuation methods on the same modality. To exemplify how a radical element can be fabricated with simple materials, we present a thin film shape-changing composite uniMorph. It is based on a flexible circuit composite that is able to actuate its own shape by combining the thermo-electric characteristics of copper with the high thermal expansion rate of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. Finally, a taxonomy for augmented materials is presented that explores how new material capabilites can extend the perceived behavior of materials in the context of microinteractions. This thesis concludes with a survey of tangible interface projects in the design space of radical element enabled augmented materials.

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