Advanced Fabrication of Interactive Stained Glass for Designing Smart Interior Objects

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Gagnon-King, Daniel
fabrication , digital fabrication , hci , human-computer interaction , interaction , user studies , stained glass , tangible interfaces , diy , hybrid craft , glass , making , prototyping , materiality
This research explores traditional stained glass within the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) as a novel digital fabrication method for creating interactive everyday things with sensor and actuating capabilities. Our work is motivated by the noticeable gap in hybrid craft literature whereby stained glass is underexplored. We are further motivated by user studies on hybrid crafts that gain insights from both expert practitioners and non-expert end-users alike. Our research questions explore: a) What kind of sensing and actuating capabilities can be integrated in traditional stained glass and how? b) How would people (both practitioners and end-users) perceive and experience interactive stained glass? We begin by exploring how interactive stained glass might appear and behave through a comprehensive process of experimentation. Through experimentation, we developed a number of fabrication methods and explored the interactivity, conductivity, and light diffusion properties across multiple modified stained glass panels. Experimentation was followed by Study I, where we conducted a series of group workshops with electronics and art practitioners (11 in total). Findings for Study I indicate that practitioners are enthusiastic about incorporating interactive stained glass in their respective crafts, and describe interactive stained glass as being calming, ambient, and beautiful. We conducted thematic analysis on the collected qualitative data to gain deeper insights into how people view and interact with artefacts made with interactive stained glass. Following Study I, Study II included end-users in co-designing sessions where participants themselves designed an artefact that will support them in their daily routines. Study II includes 3 households that are comprised of 9 total individuals. The findings from Study II indicate that interactive stained glass can be used, with a high degree of success, to craft high-fidelity prototypes that fit within the daily routines of end-users. This is reflected in our creation of 6 high-fidelity prototypes (3 proof-of-concept, 3 co-designed). Our proof-of-concept prototypes include 1) Lockthetic, a stained glass door lock, 2) Anonyglass, a desktop personalised notification artefact, and 3) Illumina, a window-mounted configurable interactive art piece. Our co-designed prototypes include 1) SousChef, a touch-activated meal suggestion artefact for the kitchen, 2) HOMEmory, a touch-activated personalised voice memo artefact, and 3) Atmoglass, an ambient weather display system with touch control. We conclude this thesis with an in-depth reflection on our fabrication processes and user studies, and provide suggestions for new avenues to pursue for future work.
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