Doctoral Research Project

Exploring Bio-Inspired Fluidic Soft Actuators and Sensors for the Design of Shape Changing Tangible User Interfaces

My ongoing doctoral research project 'Exploring Bio-Inspired Fluidic Soft Actuators and Sensors for the Design of Shape Changing Tangible User Interfaces' is aimed at an exploration and the development of a novel category of bionically-inspired user-interfaces for human-computer-interaction.

Textile membrane structures (i.e. inflatables) are augmented with stretch-flexible sensor arrays and combined with fluidic actuation techniques to achieve malleable user-interfaces with dynamic shape-change capabilities for user-input and output. The resulting prototypes enable novel interface applications, richer user-experiences, new use-qualities and more holistic or creatively-expressive interaction styles.

As tangible case studies, the artifacts expand the design space of interactive appliances by providing physical examples for a new morphology of devices, that could challenge our current notion of how technological artefacts are conceived and constructed. Based on the fundamental bionic gestalt- and actuation principles of the living nature – they open a pathway towards an entirely new class of tangible user-interfaces, that embody the dynamic variability of software-based user-interfaces within the tangible physicality of shape-variable interactive systems.

Related Publications:

K. Gohlke. 2019. Luft und Interaktion – Gestaltvariable Membranstrukturen und pneumatische Textilsysteme mit integrierter Sensorik als Benutzerschnittstellen für die taktile Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion. Textbeitrag in: Idee Inhalt Form – Beiträge zur Gestaltung der Gegenwart. W. Speitkamp, C. Weinreich (Hrsg.). p.241-245. Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, 2019. ISBN 978-3000643002.

K. Gohlke, E. Hornecker. 2018. A Stretch-Flexible Textile Multitouch Sensor for User Input on Inflatable Membrane Structures & Non-Planar Surfaces. In Proceedings of the 31st ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST‘18 Adjunct), October 14–17 2018, Berlin. https://doi.org/10.1145/3266037.3271647

Gohlke, K. 2017. Exploring Bio-Inspired Soft Fluidic Actuators and Sensors for the Design of Shape Changing Tangible User Interfaces. (Doctoral Consortium Paper) In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’17). https://doi.org/10.1145/3024969.3025039

K. Gohlke, E. Hornecker, W. Sattler. 2016. Pneumatibles – Exploring Soft Robotic Actuators for the Design of User Interfaces with Pneumotactile Feedback. Tenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’16). https://doi.org/10.1145/2839462.2839489

C. Kopic and K. Gohlke. 2016. InflatiBits: A Modular Soft Robotic Construction Kit for Children. In Proceedings of the TEI ’16: Tenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’16). https://doi.org/10.1145/2839462.2872962 (video)

Inspiration:

Bach, Klaus, u.a. (1976): Pneus in Natur und Technik / Pneus in Nature and Technics. In Mitteilungen des Instituts für Leichte Flächentragwerke, (IL 9), Stuttgart.

  • Doctoral research project (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Faculty of Media, Supervised by Prof. Dr. Eva Hornecker) Initiated in 2016