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Special Seminar/ Job Talk: Michael Wessely “Fabricating Physical User Interfaces with Smart Materials”

January 18 @ 14:00 - 15:00

Michael Wessely
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tuesday, 18 January at 14:00
via Zoom: request the link by email noora.suominenderios@aalto.fi

Abstract: I argue that in the future everyone will create physical user interfaces in any shape, function, and of any material. Physical user interfaces like mobile phones, or wearable health monitors fundamentally changed how we live and work. However, they mainly rely on rigid and rectangular touch-screens and their fabrication is still exclusive to industry and manufacturing experts. I envision that in the future personal fabrication devices will be able to create interactive objects that can detect user input with sensors, and give feedback, for example, with printed displays. Fabricating input and output components also requires the integration of functional materials into the fabrication process including conductive, color-changing, and shape-changing materials. The increased complexity of such objects will also require novel intelligent tools that mitigate low-level knowledge and enables makers to focus on the design of such objects and their functionality. Achieving these goals requires cross-disciplinary research advances in HCI, computer science, materials science, engineering, and design.

In this talk, I address these challenges by investigating the following research topics: (1) How can we update the appearance of physical objects just like we update digital content, (2) how can we embed computing capabilities in physical objects by seamlessly integrating sensing and (visual) feedback, and (3) how can we sense and manipulate material properties just like we change materials of a digital object in a 3D editor.

Bio: Michael Wessely is a post-doctoral researcher working with Prof. Stefanie Mueller in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the fabrication of physical user interfaces using smart materials that integrate computing capabilities and can sense and control their material properties. He has published several papers at ACM CHI and ACM UIST, the leading conferences in Human Computer Interaction, received for his work 2 Best Paper Awards and a Best Paper Nomination, and is a program committee member at ACM CHI and ACM UIST.

Michael holds a PhD in Human Computer Interaction from Inria and the Université Paris-Saclay advised by Prof. Wendy Mackay, and Prof. Theophanis Tsandilas. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science and Visual Computing from Saarland University advised by Prof. Juergen Steimle.