Media Technology MSc

Developing an Expressive Shape-changing Surface (2012)

Developing an Expressive Shape-changing Surface

Computationally enabled materials, materials than can programmatically take on multiple shapes, will dramatically alter the way in which we interact with computers and our environment. Student Alice Bodanzky did experiments to explore the expressive potential of self-actuating surfaces (surfaces inside which the actuating systems are embedded) — she wants designers to better understand their properties and possibilities.

Independent shape-changing surface

To research this through a case-study, she developed her own programmable, autonomous self-actuated surface. This in itself is quite an achievement for a solitary working student. Alice then studied sequences of shape deformations, paying particular attention to movement aspects. Meanwhile she adapted her approach carefully, after learning new features of the material in each step. From her experiments Alice concludes on the importance of very close dialogue between interaction designers and computationally enabled materials.

Student-driven scientific research

This graduation project demonstrates how students themselves find innovative and challenging topics for their own graduation research. Alice presented her research at the 2012 Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction Conference (TEI 2012) in Kingston, Canada.