Published: Feb. 9, 2024 By

TEI 2024 logoATLAS is well-represented at #TEI2024 - the 18th ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction. This year’s conference, in Cork, Ireland, celebrates “cutting-edge scientific research and art that is on the edge of disciplines and on the edge of new unique developments and possibilities.”

Research from 12 members of the ATLAS community including faculty, alumni and students is featured at the conference. The work spans a range of disciplines, including weaving, biomaterials, mixed reality and robotics. In addition, ACME Lab director, Ellen Do, acted as Co-Chair of Graduate Student Consortium; PhD student, Sandra Bae, was an Associate Chair for Pictorials; and ATLAS PhD alum, Fiona Bell, was an Associate Chair for Papers.

Research ATLAS PhD students presented at TEI’24

Loom Pedals: Retooling Jacquard Weaving for Improvisational Design Workflows
Shanel Wu, Xavier A Corr, Xi Gao, Sasha De Koninck, Robin Bowers, and Laura Devendorf

Abstract: We present the Loom Pedals, an open-source hardware/software interface for enhancing a weaver’s ability to create on-the-fly, improvised designs in Jacquard weaving. Learning from traditional handweaving and our own weaving experiences, we describe our process of designing, implementing, and using the prototype Loom Pedals system with a TC2 Digital Jacquard loom. The Loom Pedals include a set of modular, reconfigurable foot pedals which can be mapped to parametric Operations that generate and transform digital woven designs. Our novel interface integrates design and loom control, providing a customizable workflow for playful, improvisational Jacquard weaving. We conducted a formative evaluation of the prototype through autobiographical methods and collaboratively developed future Loom Pedals features. We contribute our prototype, design process, and conceptual reflections on weaving as a human-machine dialog between a weaver, the loom, and many other agents.

Bio-Digital Calendar: Attuning to Nonhuman Temporalities for Multispecies Understanding
Fiona Bell, Joshua Coffie, and Mirela Alistar

Abstract: We explore how actively engaging with the temporalities of a nonhuman organism can lead to multispecies understanding. To do so, we design a bio-digital calendar that brings attention to the growth and health of kombucha SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that lives in a tea medium. The non-invasive bio-digital calendar surrounds the kombucha SCOBY to track (via sensors) and enhance (via sound) its growth. As we looked at and listened to our kombucha SCOBY calendar on a daily basis, we became attuned to the slowness of kombucha SCOBY. This multisensory noticing practice with the calendar, in turn, destabilized our preconceived human-centered positionality, leading to a more humble, decentered relationship between us and the organism. Through our experiences with the bio-digital calendar, we gained a better relational multispecies understanding of temporalities based on care, which, in the long term, might be a solution to a more sustainable future.

Wizard of Props: Mixed Reality Prototyping with Physical Props to Design Responsive Environments
Yuzhen Zhang, Ruixiang Han, Ran Zhou, Peter Gyory, Clement Zheng, Patrick C. Shih, Ellen Yi-Luen Do, Malte F Jung, Wendy Ju, and Daniel Leithinger

Abstract: Driven by the vision of future responsive environments, where everyday surroundings can perceive human behaviors and respond through intelligent robotic actuation, we propose Wizard of Props (WoP): a human-centered design workflow for creating expressive, implicit, and meaningful interactions. This collaborative experience prototyping approach integrates full-scale physical props with Mixed Reality (MR) to support ideation, prototyping, and rapid testing of responsive environments. We present two design explorations that showcase our investigations of diverse design solutions based on varying technology resources, contextual considerations, and target audiences. Design Exploration One focuses on mixed environment building, where we observe fluid prototyping methods. In Design Exploration Two, we explore how novice designers approach WoP, and illustrate their design ideas and behaviors. Our findings reveal that WoP complements conventional design methods, enabling intuitive body-storming, supporting flexible prototyping fidelity, and fostering expressive environment-human interactions through in-situ improvisational performance.

Making Biomaterials for Sustainable Tangible Interfaces
Fiona Bell, Shanel Wu, Nadia Campo Woytuk, Eldy S. Lazaro Vasquez, Mirela Alistar, and Leah Buechley

Abstract: In this studio, we will explore sustainable tangible interfaces by making a range of biomaterials that are bio-based and readily biodegradable. Building off of previous TEI studios that were centered around one specific biomaterial (i.e., bioplastics at TEI’22 and microbial cellulose at TEI’23), this studio will provide participants the ability to experience a wide variety of biomaterials from algae-based bioplastics, to food-waste-based bioclays, to gelatin-based biofoams. We will teach participants how to identify types of biomaterials that are applicable to their own research and how to make them. Through hands-on activities, we will demonstrate how to implement biomaterials in the design of sustainable tangible interfaces and discuss topics sensitized by biological media such as more-than-human temporalities, bioethics, care, and unmaking. Ultimately, our goal is to facilitate a space in which HCI researchers and designers can collaborate, create, and discuss the opportunities and challenges of working with sustainable biomaterials.

Paper Modular Robot: Circuit, Sensation Feedback, and 3D Geometry
Ruhan Yang

Abstract: Modular robots have proven valuable for STEM education. However, modular robot kits are often expensive, which makes them limited in accessibility. My research focuses on using paper and approachable techniques to create modular robots. The kit’s design encompasses three core technologies: paper circuits, sensation feedback mechanisms, and 3D geometry. I have developed proof-of-concept demonstrations of technologies for each aspect. I will integrate these technologies to design and build a paper modular robot kit. This kit includes various types of modules for input, output, and other functions. My dissertation will discuss the development of these technologies and how they are integrated. This research will address the considerations and techniques for paper as an interactive material, providing a guideline for future research and development of paper-based interaction.