The use of shape-changing inflatable textile structures (short: inflatables) has gained attention as a promising approach in human-computer interaction (HCI) for lightweight, non-rigid interactions. Inflatables are discussed as actuators in the field of soft robotics, where ongoing developments combine pneumatic actuation techniques with pliable actuators, to construct robotic grippers, pneumatic-muscles, or locomotion systems, but have also been explored in HCI contexts. Moreover, inflatables offer a unique way to create shape-changing artifacts that dynamically (or in real-time) represent data in the physical realm, called data physicalizations, which represent data through material and geometric properties.
In this project we will be exploring inflatables for data physicalizations or tangible interfaces. We will create them using a manual hot press process to weld different sheet based materials such as tpu coated synthetic fabrics or other synthetic materials.
Following a Research through Design (RtD) approach, this project will challenge to create prototypes and develop them within a small team. This means conceptualising, designing, and building inflatable prototypes either as data physicalizations or prototypes for tangible interaction. One special focus will be on data physicalisations which need to be touched or interacted with, in order to ‘get’ the data (haptic data physicalisation).
This course is perfect for students who would like to be challenged to find problems, who enjoy individual and (multi-disciplinary) group-work, and to come up with their own concepts. Students will focus on research topics such as “data physicalisations”, "affordances", "shape-changing interfaces", “qualitative data representations” and "ambient/peripheral interfaces". We encourage students to participate that have a high interest in prototyping with hardware (e.g., Arduino), working with materials (e.g., wood or silicone), or using traditional fabrication techniques (e.g., origami-folding). The project is most suited for students who want 18 ECTS.