Deformable user interfaces leverage the physical actions we use intuitively to interact with real objects. It is therefore important to consider a prototype's physical characteristics when conducting research on deformable interactions. To create an authentic product experience, the authors set out to build a prototype that would mimic potential commercialized flexible devices and achieve the realism often lacking in low-fidelity prototypes. In this article, they outline the design and fabrication process to create Bendy, a prototype for studying deformable user interfaces. Their method creates prototypes quickly (one day) and inexpensively (approximately US $70) by using readily available materials. In addition, the process lets other researchers customize physical properties and interaction language to fit their specific purposes. The deformable prototype is composed of three main layers: a flexible plastic, an array of bend sensors connected to a flexible circuit, and a layer of silicone that encloses the sensors and circuit. The authors describe the fabrication process and demonstrate their method with two additional case studies. This article is part of a special issue on fabrication and printing. The Web extra shows the fabrication process, from the circuit design to printing and testing our flexible circuit, to creating the final Bendy prototype and playing Pac-Man using our deformable prototype. The web extra for this article can be found at http://youtu.be/PJ5ee5gAbm8.

Additional Metadata
Keywords bend gestures, deformable prototype, deformable user interface, fabrication, flexible display, prototyping, sensors
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1109/MPRV.2014.47
Journal IEEE Pervasive Computing
Citation
Lo, J. (Jessica), & Girouard, A. (2014). Fabricating bendy: Design and development of deformable prototypes. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 13(3), 40–46. doi:10.1109/MPRV.2014.47