Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 1.43.56 AM.png

Actuation Aesthetics

Actuation Aesthetics V2

An exciting, expanding palette of smart materials is emerging that can be programmed to actuate by a range of external and internal stimuli. For creative practitioners, carefully crafting exactly how these smart materials change over time is central to their practice. However, the control mechanisms typically provided lack expressive and creative control of the explicit aesthetics of the actuation. This paper presents a creative environment for designing a wide range of physical expres- sions with actuators, and the combinations of such expressions over time, made for the purpose of communication, spectacle, performance, or function. Through a streaming architecture, we enable users to prototype, sketch, and compose novel ex- pressive behaviors in real-time. In a range of applications, we demonstrate how exposing a computational scheduler as a creative substrate expands the expressivity of Actuation Media to include spatial, relational, and choreographed behaviors. In a formal user study, we describe how the aesthetic explo- ration environment supports novice users to design rich and expressive interactions.