Published: July 5, 2023 By

ATLAS is well-represented at this year’s ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2023 conference convening at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh from July 10-14, 2023. This year’s theme is resilience

DIS23 rebuilding & resilience logo"Resilience is at once about flexibility, durability, and strength as well as a sense of mutuality and hope where solidaristic modes of engagement make new kinds of worlds possible. 

This also recognizes that resilience takes many forms in design discourse, ranging across: indigenous knowledge, more-than-human perspectives, and the relationship between human, material and artificial intelligences."

It is exciting to see members across more than half of ATLAS labs represented in this year’s proceedings, with broad-reaching research covering microbiomes as materials for interactive design; 3D printing with spent coffee grounds; personal informatics systems; improving cross-disciplinary collaboration among artists and researchers; expressive movement for altering emotions and awareness; and the intersection of crocheting and data. Take a look:

µMe: Exploring the Human Microbiome as an Intimate Material for Living Interfaces
Fiona Bell (ATLAS PhD alum), Michelle Ramsahoye (ATLAS affiliate PhD student), Joshua Coffie (ATLAS MS alum), Julia Tung (ATLAS BS student), and Mirela Alistar (ATLAS Living Matter Lab director, assistant professor)

Our bodies are home to an unseen ecosystem of microbes that live in symbiosis with us. In this work, we extend the “human” in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to include these microbes. Specifically, we explore the skin microbiome as an intimate material for interaction design. Viewing the body as a microbial interface, we start by presenting a method to grow our microbiome such that it becomes visible to the human eye. We then present a design space that explores how different environmental parameters, such as temperature and growth media, can be controlled to influence the color of the microbiome. We further investigate how our interactions in a daily uncontrolled environment (e.g., exercising, hugging, typing) can impact the microbiome. We demonstrate several wearable applications that reveal and control the microbiome. Lastly, we address the challenges and opportunities of working with the microbiome as an intimate, living material for interaction design.

Human microbiome research image collage


Designing a Sustainable Material for 3D Printing with Spent Coffee Grounds
Michael L. Rivera (ATLAS Utility Research Lab Director, assistant professor), S. Sandra Bae (ATLAS PhD student)

The widespread adoption of 3D printers exacerbates existing environmental challenges as these machines increase energy consumption, waste output, and the use of plastics. Material choice for 3D printing is tightly connected to these challenges, and as such researchers and designers are exploring sustainable alternatives. Building on these efforts, this work explores using spent coffee grounds as a sustainable material for prototyping with 3D printing. This material, in addition to being compostable and recyclable, can be easily made and printed at home. We describe the material in detail, including the process of making it from readily available ingredients, its material characteristics and its printing parameters. We then explore how it can support sustainable prototyping practices as well as HCI applications. In reflecting on our design process, we discuss challenges and opportunities for the HCI community to support sustainable prototyping and personal fabrication. We conclude with a set of design considerations for others to weigh when exploring sustainable materials for 3D printing and prototyping.

For additional details, see our article on how this and other Utility Research Lab projects won awards at the Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival.

Michael Rivera spent coffee grounds 3D printed mugs


Being, Having, Doing, and Interacting: A Personal Informatics Approach to Understanding Human Need Satisfaction in Everyday Life
Michael Jeffrey Daniel Hoefer, Stephen Voida, (ATLAS affiliate assistant professor, founding faculty, information science)

A grand challenge for computing is to better understand fundamental human needs and their satisfaction. In this work, we design a personal informatics technology probe that scaffolds reflection on how time-use satisfies Max-Neef's fundamental needs of being, having, doing, and interacting via self-aspects, relationships and organizations, activities, and environments. Through a combination of a think-aloud study (N=10) and a week-long in situ deployment (N=7), participants used the probe to complete self- aspect elicitation and Day Reconstruction Method tasks. Participants then interacted with network visualizations of their daily lives, and discovered insights about their lives. During the study, we collected a dataset of 662 activities annotated with need satisfaction ratings. Despite challenges in operationalizing a theory of need through direct elicitation from individuals, personal informatics systems show potential as a participatory and individually meaningful approach for understanding need satisfaction in everyday life.


Enhancing Accessibility in Soft Robotics: Exploring Magnet-Embedded Paper-Based Interactions
Ruhan Yang (ATLAS PhD student), Ellen Yi-Luen Do (ATLAS ACME Lab director, faculty member)

This paper explores the implementation of embedded magnets to enhance paper-based interactions. The integration of magnets in paper-based interactions simplifies the fabrication process, making it more accessible for building soft robotics systems. We discuss various interaction patterns achievable through this approach and highlight their potential applications.


[Workshop] Towards Mutual Benefit: Reflecting on Artist Residencies as a Method for Collaboration in DIS
Laura Devendorf (ATLAS Unstable Design Lab director, assistant professor), Leah Buechley, Noura Howell, Jennifer Jacobs, Hsin-Liu (Cindy) Kao, Martin Murer, Daniela Rosner, Nica Ross, Robert Soden, Jared Tso, Clement Zheng (ATLAS PhD alum)

While cross-disciplinary collaboration has long been, and continues to be a cornerstone of inventive work in interactive design, the infrastructures of academia, as well as barriers to participation imposed by our professional organizations, make collaboration for some groups harder than others. In this workshop, we’ll focus specifically on how artists residencies are addressing (or not) the challenges that artists, craftspeople, and/or independent designers face when collaborating with researchers affiliated with DIS. While focusing on the question “what is mutual benefit”, this workshop seeks to combine the perspectives of artists as well as researchers collaborating with artists (through residencies or otherwise) to (1) reflect on benefits or deficiencies in what we are currently doing and (2) generate resources for our community to effectively structure and evaluate our methods of collaboration with artists. Our hope is to provide recognition of and pathways for equitable inclusion of artists as a first step towards broader infrastructural change. 

Refer to the Unstable Design Lab website for more details on this research. 


[Demo] SoniSpace: Expressive Movement Interaction to Encourage Taking Up Space with the Body
Ruojia Sun (ATLAS PhD student), Althea Vail Wallop (ATLAS MS student), Grace Leslie (ATLAS Brain Music Lab director, assistant professor), Ellen Yi-Luen Do (ATLAS ACME Lab director, faculty member)

Movement forms the basis of our thoughts, emotions, and ways of being in the world. Informed by somaesthetics, we design for "taking up space" (e.g. encouraging expansive body movements), which may in turn alter our emotional experience. We demonstrate SoniSpace, an expressive movement interaction experience that uses movement sonification and visualization to encourage users to take up space with their body. We use a first-person design approach to embed qualities of awareness, exploration, and comfort into the sound and visual design to promote authentic and enjoyable movement expression regardless of prior movement experience. Preliminary results from 20 user experiences with the system show that users felt more comfortable with taking up space and with movement in general following the interaction. We discuss our findings about designing for somatically-focused movement interactions and directions for future work.


[Demo] Crochet and Data Activity Book
Mikhaila Friske (ATLAS affiliate PhD student)

This demo focuses around crocheting and data. In addition to a physical workbook for conference goers to peruse and try, there will be a few small set-ups for specific activities and a small craft circle for people to craft within if they so choose.