Physical Prototyping for Rich Interaction


UI, UX, Programming


Processing, Arduino, Laser Cutter, AfterEffects,
SolidWorks, Illustrator


Write-up of class takeaways

Example illustrator file of magic box


This hands-on rapid prototyping course guest-taught by Eindhoven's Dr. Joep Frens challenged us to consider "rich interaction"--blending the digital seamlessly with the physical in order to create more intuitive, elegant, and natural interactions.


Goals varied by project, but included creating a box that opened and closed of its own accord using a sensor tied to physical input, to creating an unconventional kitchen timer to communicate more to the cook.


Projects were rapidly prototyped in foamcore and then developed using SolidWorks and Illustrator, and then either 3D printed or laser cut and then assembled using only screws or fittings. No glue was allowed.

Outcomes and Takeaways

Getting into the physical making space changed my perspective on iteration. Materials cannot lie about the outcome. Link to a longer write-up of class learnings and takeaways.

The second version of a box which opens based on sound input volume. The first version was lasercut; this one is 3D printed from solidworks and assembled without glue or screws.

A challenge for a new cook is keeping track of multiple dishes at once. A mockup of a kitchen timer that tracks prep, cook, and hands-off cooking time of multiple dishes. A servo motor under the laser printed box stand controls an arm that moves the magnet above. The servo motor is programmed using Arduino and the corresponding visuals are created using processing to listen to servo position.

Using AfterEffects to prototype rich interactions of abstract objects.

Role: Design, Prototype, Build


Attributions: Dr. Joep Frens for instruction and mentoring

Team Size: 1


Project Length: 2 weeks to one month