uniMorph - Fabricating Thin Film Composites for Shape-Changing Interfaces

Felix Heibeck, Basheer Tome, Clark Della Silva, Hiroshi Ishii


Researchers have been investigating shape-changing interfaces, however technologies for thin, reversible shape change remain complicated to fabricate. uniMorph is an enabling technology for rapid digital fabrication of customized thin-film shape-changing interfaces. By combining the thermoelectric characteristics of copper with the high thermal expansion rate of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, we are able to actuate the shape of flexible circuit composites directly. The shape-changing actuation is enabled by a temperature driven mechanism and reduces the complexity of fabrication for thin shape-changing interfaces. In this paper we describe how to design and fabricate thin uniMorph composites. We present composites that are actuated by either environmental temperature changes or active heating of embedded structures and provide a systematic overview of shape-changing primitives. Finally, we present different sensing techniques that leverage the existing copper structures or can be seamlessly embedded into the uniMorph composite. To demonstrate the wide applicability of uniMorph, we present several applications in ubiquitous and mobile computing.

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