alt. CHI 2017 Paper: Machines as Co-Designers

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.

UIST 2015 Publication! MoveableMaker: Facilitating the Design, Generation, and Assembly of Moveable Papercraft

This year at UIST (November 2015), I will be fortunate enough to give two presentations. The first is on the unintended touch ToCHI work that I did at Microsoft Research and the second is on a new project that I undertook while at Autodesk Research and the DGP Lab at the University of Toronto. As I am a papercrafter and love using my Silhouette machine, back in January / February I began working on a small idea to create a unique menu for my wedding. The end result was MoveableMaker (and a number of menus!), a novel software application that automates the creation of interactive, moveable papercraft. More wedding details will soon follow (and I can now talk about it) and the UIST publication will be posted as it becomes available.

Wedding Menu pre-MoveableMaker

Wedding Menu post-MoveableMaker (everything is much cleaner and required must less effort)

In this work, we explore moveables, i.e., interactive papercraft that harness user interaction to generate visual effects. First, we present a  survey of children’s books that captured the state of the art of moveables. The results of this survey were synthesized into a moveable taxonomy and informed MoveableMaker, a new tool to assist users in designing, generating, and assembling moveable papercraft. MoveableMaker supports the creation and customization of a number of moveable effects and employs moveable-specific features including animated tooltips, automatic instruction generation, constraint-based rendering, techniques to reduce material waste, and so on. To understand how MoveableMaker encourages creativity and enhances the workflow when creating moveables, a series of exploratory workshops were conducted. The results of these explorations, including the content participants created and their impressions, are discussed, along with avenues for future research involving moveables.