Exploring Interactions with Shape-Changing Interfaces
Shape-Changing Interfaces foresee a future where interactive computing devices will be able to take on shapes that are flexible and robotically actuated, imbued with user interfaces that adjust to physical shape changes of the device hardware. In the past, shape change has been under-utilized as an interaction modality because the shape of electronic devices was always fixed by their rigid electronic components. As advances in flexible electronics and advanced materials pave the way for a new generation of non-planar, deformable, and actuated computer components, it has become possible to consider the effect on interaction design of shape transformation in electronic devices. In this thesis, we present a number of shape-changing interfaces that move on a spectrum from rigid multi-faceted display surfaces that can be placed in different shape configurations by the user to fully actuated robotic notification systems. To understand how to better design shape-changing interfaces, we investigate flexible user interfaces that support physical manipulation as a means of user input. We report on an empirical study that shows that shape changes can be used for triggering viewport transformations in foldable display devices. We also discuss how thin-film displays can be seamlessly integrated with everyday objects. We then demonstrate how devices with flexible screen real estate afford focus + context functionality. Finally, we show that actuated shape notifications can be used to communicate notifications. When designing shape-changing interfaces, we argue that designers should focus on blending the dynamic qualities of the digital world with the tactile qualities of the physical one, to create interfaces that have the ability to adapt their shape to accommodate for different usages, purposes, and contexts.