Phrases of the Kinetic: Dynamic Physicality as a Dimension of the Design Process

Parkes, A. "Phrases of the Kinetic: Dynamic Physicality as a Dimension of the Design Process"


At its core, the concept of Tangible Interfaces leverages the idea of using the movement of the body as an inherent part of the human side of a human-computer interaction, assuming that bodily engagement and tactile manipulation can facilitate deeper understanding and more intuitive experiences. However, as an interaction principle in our era of digital design, motion construction and control has been underutilized and little examined as a design tool, leaving open the possibilities of motion's natural ability to draw our attention, provide physical feedback, and convey information through physical change. This dissertation postulates that the ability to experiment, prototype, and model with programmable kinetic forms is becoming increasingly important as digital technology becomes more readily embedded in our objects and environments and need for tools and systems with which to create, manipulate and finesse motion in response to computational and material input remains an under-developed design area. This thesis aims to establish principles of kinetic design through the exploration of two approaches to motion construction and manipulation: motion prototyping as a methodology for design thinking, learning and communication and physically dynamic state memory as a methodology for organic form finding and transformation in the design process. To demonstrate these aims, I present three interface systems: Topobo, a system for motion construction and dynamics physics education with children; Kinetic Sketchup, a system for motion construction and prototyping in architecture and product design; and Bosu, an augmented textile interface offering an experimental approach to digitally augmented organic form finding in fashion and product design.

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