Pratt Institute School of Design

Supple Interaction
Wan-Sian Lai
Recognizing the limitations of form factors and gestures in hardware interface design and interaction design, the thesis attempts to use suppleness as a methodology to innovate the design of interaction in human-computer interaction (HCI). The research incorporates the adoption of soft concepts and materials in the art and design field. Through exploring contextual literature and soft characteristics within materials and philosophy, softness is framed as an ideology of fluidity, responsiveness, and flexibility. Tactilely, we sense the quality and characteristics of softness intimately and instantly. The intersection between our bodies and materials happens at the moment when our skin makes contact with other surfaces. Therefore, the body becomes an entity for us to perceive softness. The theory of embodied interaction (Dourish 2004) and affective computing (Picard 2000) serves as the fundamental research to speculate the possibilities of form in the realm of interaction design in a form of tangible interaction. The capstone project employs speculative and critical design approaches to identify future scenarios and experimenting with home surroundings, in turn, it stimulates the users to rethink their relationships with digital interfaces. Grounded in Metamodernism, the investigations hope to achieve the balance between various viewpoints, intersecting of tactility, whole body parts, and affection within the human. Based on the reviews of existing literature and various experiments on pliable materials, artifacts, and visualizations, my dissertation reframes the concept of softness and extends to supple interaction and methodology.

01 Touch
Switch-plant is a new interaction with your lighting device, by using Arduino, capacitive sensor, and a smart plug. You are able to turn on and off by touching your plant.

02 Eat
Scroll-eat is a new interaction with your phone, by using Arduino, weigh sensor, and a smart plug. While sensing the loss of the weigh, the contents you are browsing on the device will be scrolling in real-time.

03 Hug
Music-cuddle is a new interaction with your speaker, by using Arduino, a pressure sensor, and a smart plug. After hugging tightly 3 times, you are able to turn/off the music.