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Title: End-User Control over Physical User-Interfaces: From Digital Fabrication to Real-Time Adaptability
Authors: RAMAKERS, Raf 
Advisors: LUYTEN, Kris
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: Graphical user interfaces are at the core of the majority of computing devices, including WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointer) interaction styles and touch interactions. The popularity of graphical user interfaces stems from their ability to adapt to a multitude of tasks, such as document editing, messaging, browsing, etc. New tools and technologies also enabled users without a technical background to author these kind of digital interfaces, for example, filters for quick photo editing, interactive profiles on social media, or easy-to-use content management systems. In contrast, physical interfaces are hard to author as they embody electronic input and output sensors directly in the material. These physical interfaces are defined by both their physical form and functionality. As such, authoring physical interfaces oftentimes requires expertise of materials, electronics, design, and programming. This dissertation investigates novel tools and techniques to bridge the knowledge gap that novices experience while authoring physical interfaces. On the one hand, we present software-hardware tools to support novices while conceiving new or repurposing existing physical interfaces using digital fabrication machinery. On the other hand, we tap into the future by exploring how transformable materials allow for adapting the form-factor of interfaces on the fly. In this thesis, we make four main contributions to the body of authoring tools related Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) knowledge. Each of the contributions presents novel tools and systems which addresses a subset of the problems that non-experts experience while authoring physical interfaces. With prototype implementations, example walkthroughs, and user evaluations, we demonstrate how the different techniques alleviate the problems they address. Through the concepts and systems presented in this dissertation, we lower the barriers for non-experts to make and deploy physical interfaces. For users with a technical background, we make the engineering processes more convenient and efficient. In a larger sense, the novel concepts and systems presented in this dissertation, move interactive interfaces from traditional graphical user interfaces to physical spaces.
Keywords: human-computer-interaction; physical user-interfaces, design environments, digital fabrication, transformable user-interfaces
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Category: T1
Type: Theses and Dissertations
Appears in Collections:PhD theses
Research publications

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