The Tilting Bowl: Electronic Design for a Research Product

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Henry Lin, Ron Wakkary, and Doenja Oogjes. 2019. The Tilting Bowl: Electronic Design for a Research Product. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 345–357. DOI:

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research product
research through design
design process
circuit prototyping
material speculation


 The Tilting Bowl is a ceramic bowl that unpredictably but gently tilts multiple times daily. This pictorial reports on the crafting of the electronics of the Tilting Bowl within the concept of a research product [10]. From this perspective, the seemingly simple task of making a bowl tilt holds unique challenges and demands – especially as a research product that is deployed in everyday settings for lengthy periods of time. We highlight electronic design challenges that came up in three processes of making the Tilting Bowl: the tilting mechanism, hardware integration of electronics and power management. Lastly, we offer three suggestions for designing electronics for research products.

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