We present Jubilee, an open-source hardware machine with automatic tool-changing and interchangeable bed plates. As digital fabrication tools have become more broadly accessible, tailoring those machines to new users and novel workflows has become central to HCI research. However, the lack of hardware infrastructure makes custom application development cumbersome. We identify a need for an extensible platform to allow HCI researchers to develop workflows for fabrication, material exploration, and other applications. Jubilee addresses this need. It can automatically and repeatably change tools in the same operation. It can be built with a combination of simple 3D-printed and readily available parts. It has several standard head designs for a variety of applications including 3D printing, syringe-based liquid handling, imaging, and plotting. We present Jubilee with a comprehensive set of assembly instructions and kinematic mount templates for user-designed tools and bed plates. Finally we demonstrate Jubilee's multi-tool workflow functionality with a series of example applications.
We present a novel haptic and audio feedback device that allows blind and visually impaired (BVI) users to understand circuit diagrams. TangibleCircuits allows users to interact with a 3D printed tangible model of a circuit which provides audio tutorial directions while being touched. Our system comprises an automated parsing algorithm which extracts 3D printable models as well as an audio interfaces from a Fritzing diagram. To better understand the requirements of designing technology to assist BVI users in learning hardware computing, we conducted a series of formative inquiries into the accessibility limitations of current circuit tutorial technologies. In addition, we derived insights and design considerations gleaned from conducting a formal comparative user study to understand the effectiveness of TangibleCircuits as a tutorial system. We found that BVI users were better able to understand the geometric, spatial and structural circuit information using TangibleCircuits, as well as enjoyed learning with our tool.
Magnets are very useful for the rapid prototyping of haptic interactions. However, it is difficult to arrange fine and complex magnetic fields rapidly. Therefore, we invented a method for fabricating complex geometric magnetic patterns by overlaying multiple magnetic rubber sheets. This method resolves the tradeoff between magnetized pattern complexity and the time required for magnetization. By layering multiple magnetic sheets that have simple magnetic patterns, various types of geometric magnetic patterns, such as checkered and diamond ones, can be generated on the top surface. By applying superposed magnetic fields, various types of tactile stimuli and haptic interaction can be created rapidly. Furthermore, the superposed magnetic fields can be changed dynamically by rotating the layered magnetic sheets. In this paper, we clarify the material requirements and describe the design method for creating these geometric magnetic patterns. We also demonstrate several of their applications.
The hardware research and development communities have invested heavily in tools and materials that facilitate the design and prototyping of electronic devices. Numerous easy-to-access and easy-to-use tools have streamlined the prototyping of interactive and embedded devices for experts and led to a remarkable growth in non-expert builders. However, there has been little exploration of challenges associated with moving beyond a prototype and creating hundreds or thousands of exact replicas – a process that is still challenging for many. We interviewed 25 individuals with experience taking prototype hardware devices into low volume production. We systematically investigated the common issues faced and mitigation strategies adopted. We present our findings in four main categories: (1) gaps in technical knowledge; (2) gaps in non-technical knowledge; (3) minimum viable rigor in manufacturing preparation; and (4) building relationships and a professional network. Our study unearthed several opportunities for new tools and processes to support the transition beyond a working prototype to cost effective low-volume manufacturing. These would complement the aforementioned tools and materials that support design and prototyping.
We propose a new sensing technique for one-dimensional touch input workable on an interactive thread of less than 0.4 mm thick. Our technique locates up to two touches using impedance sensing with a spacing resolution unachievable by the existing methods. Our approach is also unique in that it locates a touch based on a mathematical model describing the change in thread impedance in relation to the touch locations. This allows the system to be easily calibrated by the user touching a known location(s) on the thread. The system can thus quickly adapt to various environmental settings and users. A system evaluation showed that our system could track the slide motion of a finger with an average error distance of 6.13 mm and 4.16 mm using one and five touches for calibration, respectively. The system could also distinguish between single touch and two concurrent touches with an accuracy of 99% and could track two concurrent touches with an average error distance of 8.55 mm. We demonstrate new interactions enabled by our sensing approach in several unique applications.