This year I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Jeeeun Kim and Tom Yeh (from the University of Colorado) and Haruki Takahashi and Homei Miyashita (from Meiji University) on a rather interesting alt. CHI paper. The work, entitled “Machines as Co-Designers: A Fiction on the Future of Human-Fabrication Machine Interaction” draws attention to the ways in which current fabrication practices do not facilitate the serendipitous and in-situ creativity discoveries that occur during traditional craft practices. For me, this project and the accompanying alt. CHI review process were very illuminating (I highly recommend that anyone who has not submitted an alt. CHI paper and experienced the nervousness that comes from reading community’s reviews of their work everyday to do so – it’s a great learning experience). The full paper will be submitted at CHI 2017 and I will link to it after it has been published. Until now, here is the abstract!
While current fabrication technologies have led to a wealth of techniques to create physical artifacts of virtual designs, they require unidirectional and constraining interaction workflows. Instead of acting as intelligent agents that support human’s natural tendencies to iteratively refine ideas and experiment, today’s fabrication machines function as output devices. In this work, we argue that fabrication machines and tools should be thought of as live collaborators to aid in-situ creativity, adapting physical dynamics come from unique materiality and/or machine specific parameters. Through a series of design narratives, we explore Human-FabMachine Interaction (HFI), a novel viewpoint from which to reflect on the importance of (i) interleaved design thinking and refinement during fabrication, (ii) enriched methods of interaction with fabrication machines regardless of skill level, and (iii) concurrent human and machine interaction.