Investigating theoretical statements of shape-changing artifacts through longitudinal deployments

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Author: Zhong, Ce
The fields of HCI and interaction design are increasingly interested in using user experiments to explore the interactivity of newly designed shape-changing artifacts, which refer to physical changes in shape or materiality as inputs or outputs of computing. However, people's creativity is in potential form and always changing, meaning they may not interact with shape-changing artifacts in the ways originally designed. Instead, they may adopt and adapt them for individual purposes in their everyday routines. Conversely, the dynamic physical forms of these artifacts may mediate people's perceptions, behaviors, and existence in mundane contexts. Over time, the incremental interactions, intersections, and entanglements between situated users and designed forms may transform the manifestation of shape-changing artifacts. Despite this, little research has been done to construct empirical analyses of shape-changing artifacts through longitudinal investigations, leaving it unclear what design qualities can be generated from such studies. Drawing on the notion of the Materiality of Interaction, this study designed and deployed three shape-changing artifacts as resources for critical inquiry over the past six years. The first of these artifacts is the transTexture lamp, an interactive light featuring a shape-changing lampshade. The second is the deformTable, highlighted by its counterfactual feature of rising with an increase in weight applied to the table surface and vice versa. The third artifact is the coMorphing stool, which can physically change its shape in response to changing light. This dissertation makes two primary contributions to the interaction design and HCI fields. First, it thematically articulates the long-term lived experiences of the three shape-changing artifacts by presenting empirical themes of shape-changing artifacts: "appropriation," "adaptation," and "mediation." Second, it develops design qualities of shape-changing artifacts from long-term practices: "everydayness," "adjustedness," and "connectedness," as well as highlighting the benefits, suggestions, and opportunities of drawing upon these qualities.
161 pages.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Wakkary, Ron
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