Craft Tech Lab


Ben Leduc-Mills, Ph.D. Thesis Project

PopCAD (Version 1, Version 2) is a paper-based tangible input device that allows non-experts to model and create their own three-dimensional objects. The user toggles lights (arranged in a 3x3x3 grid) to model the vertices of three-dimensional objects.  PopCAD’s companion software reads the light configurations and then allows the users to export files that can be printed by 3D printers.  PopCAD is the final version of Ben’s earlier design and implementation of UCube and SnapCAD tangible input devices.  Ben discusses these systems and their implications in his doctoral thesis, “Embodied Fabrication:  Body-Centric Devices for Novice Designers.”


Mike and Ann Eisenberg

We have spent more than a decade developing the HyperGami and JavaGami design environments for paper sculpture. Kids and adults customize three-dimensional polyhedra on-screen; the software generates a two-dimensional folding net which the user may decorate, print to a color printer, and then assemble into a real three-dimensional paper model. Using basic polyhedral building blocks and operations such as stretching, capping, truncation, and slicing, it is possible to build everything from hippos and penguins to ice cream cones, carnivorous plants, and bubble gum machines.

Math on a Sphere

Antranig Basman and Mike Eisenberg, Craft Tech

In collaboration with Sherry Hsi at The Lawrence Hall of Science; with programming development from Michelle Redick (M.S. Computer Science, CU Boulder) and educational development by Hilary Peddicord, NOAA, Boulder.

Math on a Sphere is a National Science Foundation-funded project in collaboration with The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA.  Michelle and Antranig have developed a programming language that children can use to play with three-dimensional spherical geometry and program their own beautiful mathematical patterns onto a 3D spherical display.

Tactile Picture Books

Jeeeun Kim

In collaboration with Tom Yeh and the Sikuli Lab at CU Boulder.

The Tactile Picture Books project, headed by Tom Yeh of CU Boulder’s Sikuli Lab, is an exploration of ways for parents of visually-impaired children to create their own tangible books.  Doctoral student Jeeeun Kim and other collaborators are designing software tools to “interpret” a picture book, and are experimenting with different forms of material output (3D printed, laser cut, etc) for the tactile versions of the books.  Shown below are different interpretations of Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon.”  Learn more about this project at: .

Our current work in the development of JavaGami enables users to output their polyhedral forms directly to a MakerBot (or similar) 3D printer.  The sculptures shown below have been exported from JavaGami and 3D printed.  The penguin was 3D printed in white and then painted by hand.

May 2014:  Casey Middle School students, and their teacher, Kristi Winseck, watch as their Math on a Sphere programs are drawn onto the spherical display at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, CO.  Some student projects as projected on the sphere are shown to the right; more student projects are located here.  Student projects from April 2015 are here.

Visit the Math on a Sphere project page at:

Paper Mechatronics

Hyunjoo Oh (Ph.D. Student, Craft Tech/ATLAS)

Tech Hive Studio, Lawrence Hall of Science

Sherry Hsi, Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA

Mike Eisenberg, Craft Tech

Nikolaus Correll, Correll Lab, CU Boulder

Swamy Ananthanarayan, Ph.D. Student, Craft Tech

Co-Advisors:  Katie Siek, Indiana U. and Mike Eisenberg, Craft Tech

Recently Completed Projects

In this Cyberlearning EAGER project, the project team is developing foundations for using “paper mechatronics” as a learning technology. Paper mechatronics makes possible a craft-oriented approach to engineering and computing education that integrates key concepts from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, control systems, and computer programming, while using paper as the primary material for learner design, exploration, and inquiry.

Swamy’s doctoral thesis project focuses on the creation of devices that give people feedback about their health needs in natural, aesthetically pleasing, and motivating ways.  Feedback can come from mobile phone applications, wearables, or smart ambient devices to alert users to health parameters they are monitoring.