Productive Frictions: Moving from Digital to Material Prototyping and Low-Volume Production for Design Research

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Final version published as: 

Ron Wakkary, Henry Lin, Shannon Mortimer, Lauren Low, Audrey Desjardins, Keith Doyle, and Philip Robbins. 2016. Productive Frictions: Moving from Digital to Material Prototyping and Low-Volume Production for Design Research. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1258-1269. DOI=

Date created: 
materials research
rapid prototyping
design research
research product

In this paper we discuss the low-volume production of an interaction design research product known as the tilting bowl. The form of the tilting bowl was designed with 3D modeling tools and utilized digital fabrication for rapid prototyping. The final form was produced in a small number of glazed ceramic forms with embedded electronics and actuators. We focus on the lessons we learned from the challenges and design opportunities that arose in moving from digital processes to ceramic processes. We reflected on these lessons and developed thematic notions we refer to as frictions. These include shifting constraints, naïve expertise, manual automation, and dynamic materiality. The contributions of this paper are new design insights into the combination of digital and material processes for studio based prototyping and low-volume production and adds to the emerging relevance of digital fabrication, physical fabrication, and physical materials to interaction design and HCI research.

Document type: 
You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions: You must give attribution to the work (but not in any way that suggests that the author endorses you or your use of the work); You may not use this work for commercial purposes; You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Any further uses require the permission of the rights holder (or author if no rights holder is listed). These rights are based on the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License.