L-Shift: Encoding and Shifting Material Properties and Functionalities with Phase-shifting Liquid, TEI 2015 Work-in-progress, 2015

Jan. 15, 2015


Sang-won Leigh, Patrick van Hoof, Krithika Jagannath, Pattie Maes, Hiroshi Ishii


Forces of gravity and the concept of a fixed center of mass severely limit the opportunities for product design and user interaction with those products. In this paper, we present L-Shift, a fictional material in which the weight distribution of physical objects is manipulated dynamically. It is a material that shifts its phase between solid and liquid and, therefore, allows for changes in weight distribution and rigidity. This gives designers many more options, as products can be reshaped, re-balanced and stiffened as needed. Through prototyping with sodium acetate – a material that has properties close to the proposed fictional one – we explore user scenarios and future possibilities. We envision that it is possible to manipulate such physical properties of objects dynamically, which will open up new opportunities for designing interactive and more responsive products.

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