Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dynamic Shape Construction and Transformation with Collective Elements
by Suzuki, Ryo, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2020, 275; 28031109
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis explores dynamic and collective shape construction as a new way to physicalize digital information for interactive physical displays --- i.e., shape-changing displays enabled by a swarm of collective elements. Through physical form of digital objects, the user can directly touch, grasp, and manipulate digital information through rich tangible and embodied interactions, but at the same time, such physical objects can dynamically change their shape for an interactive computer display and interface through collective shape construction and transformation with a swarm of elements. The goal of this thesis is to envision and illustrate how such an interface might support human activities by transforming physical forms at various sizes, from millimeter to meter scale.

To achieve this goal, this thesis introduces collective shape-changing interface, a new type of shape-changing interfaces constructed by discrete, collective, physical elements. This proposed approach promises to address the current limitations of shape-changing interfaces --- wherein a swarm of modular elements enables us to decompose the large, monolithic shape-changing objects into a set of simple, distributed elements. At the same time, their swarm behaviors enable us to make an unbounded shape transformation for expressive representation. This thesis contributes to the first exploration of this new class of shape-changing interfaces and proposes two approaches: active and passive shape construction. In active shape construction, collective elements can dynamically move and reconfigure themselves to construct a three-dimensional shape. Passive shape construction instead leverages external actuation to assemble and transform collective passive objects for dynamic shape creation. I explore and demonstrate how active and passive collective shape construction can be used as a future of computer interfaces, by developing various prototypes built on top of novel hardware and software platforms. Given these investigations, I discuss the design implications and possible research directions towards the future of collective shape-changing user interfaces.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leithinger, Daniel
Commitee: Gross, Mark D., Yeh, Tom, Ishii, Hiroshi, Igarashi, Takeo
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Computer Science
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 82/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Computer science, Robotics, Design, Information Technology, Computer Engineering, Artificial intelligence, Remote sensing
Keywords: Human-computer interaction, Physical displays, Shape-changing interfaces, Swarm robots, Tangible user interfaces, User interfaces, Software platforms, Computer interfaces, Design implications
Publication Number: 28031109
ISBN: 9798557012683
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