Craft Tech Lab
Publications
 

Eisenberg, M.

3D Printing for Children:  What to Build Next?

International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction.  1:1, 2013, pp. 7-13.


The era of affordable 3D printing is clearly underway; indeed, the historical patterns of growth in 3D printing are, in many ways, strikingly similar to those associated with the growth of home computing in the late 1970’s. One of the prominent areas of increased interest in 3D printing is in the realm of education: fabrication tools are becoming available to college undergraduates and high school students, and even to younger children. Accompanying this burgeoning growth, however, there is an acute need to consider the ways in which 3D printing should develop, as a technology, in order to accommodate the abilities and activities of youngsters. This paper discusses a number of technological challenges to be overcome in making 3D printing truly available to children over the next decade. The most prominent challenges described here include: (a) expanding the range of physical media available for printing, (b) incorporating ideas derived from “pick-and-place” mechanisms into 3D printing, (c) exploring methods for creating portable and ubiquitous printing devices, (d) creating tools for hand-customization and finishing of tangible printed objects, and (e) devising software techniques for specifying, altering, and combining 3D elements in the context of printing. By facing these challenges, we can provide children (and adults) with a remarkably powerful and expressive means for creating all sorts of personalized artifacts.



Eisenberg, M.; Eisenberg, A.; and Huang, Y.

Bringing E-Textiles into Engineering Education.

In Textile Messages: Dispatches from the World of E-Textiles and Education (eds. Y. Kafai, L. Buechley, K. Peppler, M. Eisenberg), Routledge, 2013.



Eisenberg, M., Basman, A., Hsi, S., and Nickerson, H. 

Turtle Temari. 

Proceedings of Bridges 2013, Enschede, the Netherlands, July 27-31, 2013.


Temari balls are mathematical craft objects in which patterns of multicolored thread are

wound around a spherical surface to create intriguing, sometimes remarkable patterns. In this

paper, we demonstrate an interactive programming system, Math on a Sphere (MoS), that

enables users to create and explore temari-like designs on a spherical surface represented on a

computer screen. The programming language of MoS is based on the venerable "turtle

graphics" elements characteristic of the traditional Logo language; unlike those traditional

systems, however, in MoS the turtle does not draw lines on a plane, but on a representation of

a sphere. Thus, MoS provides a medium in which to create striking patterns, and at the same

time serves as an introduction to fundamental ideas in non-Euclidean geometry. We step

through the creation of several temari designs based on the symmetries of Platonic solids, and

show how the reader may access and play with the system on the Web. We conclude with a

brief discussion of ongoing and future work related to the MoS system.



Huang, Y.; Meyers, J.; DuBow, W.; Wu, Z.; and Eisenberg, M.

Programming Plush Toys as an Introduction to Computer Science: the (Fraught) Question of Motivation

In Ubiquitous and Mobile Learning in the Digital Age, Sampson, D. G. et al., eds. New York: Springer, pp. 215-226. (Slightly revised and extended version of earlier paper in CELDA 2011 conference.), 2013.



Eisenberg, M.; Ludwig, K.; and Elumeze, N.

Toward Child-Friendly Output and Fabrication Devices: the StringPrinter and Other Possibilities. 

In P. Isaias, et al., ed. Towards Learning and Instruction in Web 3.0, New York: Springer, pp. 303-315, 2012.



Hsi, S. and Eisenberg, M.

Math on a sphere: using public displays to support children's creativity and computational thinking on 3D surfaces

IDC '12 :  Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Bremen, Germany, June 12-15, 2012.


Math on a Sphere (MoS) is a newly developed Web-based environment that enables children to imagine, program, and share creative designs on a public spherical display, the "Science on a Sphere" system created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The MoS software, similar in spirit to the Logo language, was installed at an exhibit located in the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkeley and at the Fiske Planetarium at University of Colorado, Boulder. Twenty-five children ages 8 to 13 in two cohorts tested the MoS software during a half-day workshop held at the Lawrence Hall. In addition to using the MoS software to create beautiful and original works of art, children also engaged in hands-on crafts and inquiry-based math activities to further promote learning of spherical geometry and computational thinking. MoS software workshop had a positive impact on children's engagement, but had mixed results about their understanding of geometry as evidenced by direct observations and results from pre/post-surveys, which are reported here.



Leduc-Mills, B., Profita, H., and Eisenberg, M.

“Seeing solids” via patterns of light:  evaluating a tangible 3D-input device

IDC '12: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Bremen, Germany, June 12-15, 2012.


This paper describes pilot tests of a prototype device for 3-dimensional input called the UCube; briefly, this device permits spatial input to be conveyed "by hand", by turning on (or off) elements of a volumetric array of lights whose positions are then sent to a desktop computer. The purpose of the UCube is to allow users--especially students and novices with little experience of 3D design--to create a wide variety of three-dimensional shapes without the need for complex modeling software. In this paper, we describe tests of the UCube with middle-school students, focusing on the ability of students to visualize and model solid forms employing the device. We use the results of these pilot tests to ground a wider-ranging discussion of (a) how the device itself might be further developed, and (b) more general issues in designing systems for interactive three-dimensional input and fabrication.



Huang, Y. and Eisenberg, M.

Easigami: virtual creation by physical folding

TEI '12:  Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Feb. 19-22, 2012.


With the advent of affordable three-dimensional printing and fabrication devices, the design of 3D objects has become an increasingly central activity in creative computational work. A recurring issue in this sort of design, however, is overcoming the "two-dimensional bottleneck" of the standard computer screen and associated conventional input devices: that is, it is difficult to create and visualize tangible objects using such hardware combination and (generally complex) modeling software. As a consequence, there is a growing need for a variety of innovative 3D input tools and techniques that allow users to create, customize, and visualize spatial objects and information "by hand". This paper describes a working example of such a tool: a tangible 3D sketching tool called Easigami, which permits users to assemble a wide variety of polyhedral objects by connecting and folding polygonal pieces. The physical arrangement of Easigami pieces is read into a computer and displayed interactively, in real time. Thus Easigami, by its design, blends the natural physical ability of folding paper-like materials with the power of computational representation. This paper describes the design of Easigami, presents a scenario of its use, and outlines ongoing and planned future work of the system.



Huang, Y. and Eisenberg, M.

Steps Toward Child-Designed Interactive Stuffed Toys

IDC ’11:  Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Ann Arbor, MI, June 20-23, 2011.


The blossoming research field of electronic textiles (or e-textiles) seeks to integrate ubiquitous electronic and computational elements into fabric. This paper concerns one of the most challenging aspects of the design and construction of e-textile prototypes: namely, engineering the attachment of traditional hardware components to textiles. We present three new techniques for attaching off-the-shelf electrical hardware to e-textiles: (a) the design of fabric PCBs or iron-on circuits to attach electronics directly to a fabric substrate; (b) the use of electronic sequins to create wearable displays and other artifacts; and (c) the use of socket buttons to facilitate connecting pluggable devices to textiles. In this work we have focused on using easily obtained materials and developing user-friendly techniques; our aim is to develop methods that will make e-textile technology available to crafters, students, and hobbyists. This paper describes the techniques and employs them as a springboard for a wider-ranging discussion of "e-textile craft".



Leduc-Mills, B. and Eisenberg, M.

The UCube:  a child-friendly device for introductory three-dimensional design

IDC ’11:  Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Ann Arbor, MI, June 20-23, 2011.


Currently there is a burgeoning interest in three-dimensional construction and design: 3D printing and fabrication devices have--with almost shocking swiftness--become available to students and home hobbyists, allowing a vastly expanded audience to imagine, and then print out, their own tangible designs. Still, while the fabrication devices themselves are becoming available to younger children, the task of 3D design itself remains difficult for youngsters. The difficulty lies in the "2D screen bottleneck": three-dimensional objects for printing must generally be designed in complex software that works exclusively with, and through, a flat two-dimensional screen. This paper introduces the UCube, a spatial input device designed specifically with children and "3D novices" in mind. The basic idea behind the UCube is that it provides a spatial, volumetric array of light switches that can be turned on and off individually by the user; the pattern of lights is then input to a desktop computer, where it can be employed to specify a collection of 3D points in space. The result is that 3D design--at least for simple shapes--becomes a matter of moving one's hands in space to (e.g.) select the boundary points of the desired shape. We describe the design of the UCube, the influences behind it, and some early encouraging pilot tests of the device with middle-school-age children.



Huang, Y. and Eisenberg, M.

Plushbot:  an application for the design of programmable, interactive stuffed toys

TEI ’11:  Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, Funchal, Portugal, January 23-26, 2011.


Currently there is a burgeoning interest in three-dimensional construction and design: 3D printing and fabrication devices have--with almost shocking swiftness--become available to students and home hobbyists, allowing a vastly expanded audience to imagine, and then print out, their own tangible designs. Still, while the fabrication devices themselves are becoming available to younger children, the task of 3D design itself remains difficult for youngsters. The difficulty lies in the "2D screen bottleneck": three-dimensional objects for printing must generally be designed in complex software that works exclusively with, and through, a flat two-dimensional screen. This paper introduces the UCube, a spatial input device designed specifically with children and "3D novices" in mind. The basic idea behind the UCube is that it provides a spatial, volumetric array of light switches that can be turned on and off individually by the user; the pattern of lights is then input to a desktop computer, where it can be employed to specify a collection of 3D points in space. The result is that 3D design--at least for simple shapes--becomes a matter of moving one's hands in space to (e.g.) select the boundary points of the desired shape. We describe the design of the UCube, the influences behind it, and some early encouraging pilot tests of the device with middle-school-age children.



Meyers, J., LaMarche, J. and Eisenberg, M.

Craftopolis:  blending tangible, informal construction into virtual multiuser communities

IDC ’10:  Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Barcelona, Spain, June 9-12, 2010.


The last decade has seen a blossoming of creative online activities for children in which groups, or communities, of youngsters participate within (e.g.) multiplayer games, social networks, shared programming environments, and so forth. Despite the marvelous features of these environments, they all share the limitation of being exclusively "virtual" in their design: children can play in virtual worlds, create virtual buildings and farms, or design programs, but they cannot experiment or create with tangible materials in these activities. In this paper, we present a prototype of a shared online children's "world" in which the basic elements are tangible, informal, "rooms" or constructions that can be controlled computationally and accessed over the World Wide Web. This system, Craftopolis, enables users to make their own computationally-enriched physical models (e.g., of dollhouse rooms, dioramas, game boards, and so forth), using any materials whatever, and to link those rooms into a shared online space.



Eisenberg, M., Buechley, L. and Elumeze, N.

Bits and Pieces:  Potential Future Scenarios for Children’s Mobile Technology

International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction , 2(2): 37-52, 2010.


The reigning portrait of mobile technology for children has, by and large, been founded on a portrait of computing derived from an earlier generation of desktop devices. That is, the recurring image of “mobile computing” employs a full-scale personal computer shrunk down to handheld size (as in a PDA or iPhone). While this image suggests avenues for innovation, it nevertheless reflects a highly constrained view of computing that fails to do justice to the educational possibilities of children’s informal day-to-day activities. This article seeks to challenge the “PDA-centric” view of children’s mobile technology by discussing two major design themes that lead in alternative directions: namely, material computing (endowing physical substrates of various kinds with computational capabilities) and piecewise computing (enhancing mobility through the dissociation of various functional capabilities of traditional computers). In discussing these themes, the authors draw on design projects.



Eisenberg, M., Elumeze, N., MacFerrin, M., and Buechley, L.

Children’s programming, reconsidered:  settings, stuff, and surfaces

IDC ’09:  Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Como, Italy, June 3-5, 2009.


The subject of children's programming has long been a vexed and controversial one in the field of educational technology. Debates in this area have typically focused on issues such as how to create a child-friendly programming language; or whether children can learn particular topics (e.g., recursion) in programming; or indeed, whether it is worthwhile for children to encounter programming at all. For the most part, these debates have taken place against an implicit background of assumptions about what children's programming looks like--namely, an activity focused on creating effects on a desktop screen or, occasionally, robotic toy. This paper argues that the cultural and anthropological contexts of children's programming are now poised to change: that new programming materials, physical settings, and unorthodox display surfaces are likely to shift the nature of the children's-programming debate in profound ways, and to make programming a far more informal, approachable, and natural activity than heretofore. We illustrate this argument with projects underway in our own research.



Buechley, L. and Eisenberg, M.

Fabric PCBs, electronic sequins, and socket buttons:  techniques for e-textile craft

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 13:2, Feb. 2009


The blossoming research field of electronic textiles (or e-textiles) seeks to integrate ubiquitous electronic and computational elements into fabric. This paper concerns one of the most challenging aspects of the design and construction of e-textile prototypes: namely, engineering the attachment of traditional hardware components to textiles. We present three new techniques for attaching off-the-shelf electrical hardware to e-textiles: (a) the design of fabric PCBs or iron-on circuits to attach electronics directly to a fabric substrate; (b) the use of electronic sequins to create wearable displays and other artifacts; and (c) the use of socket buttons to facilitate connecting pluggable devices to textiles. In this work we have focused on using easily obtained materials and developing user-friendly techniques; our aim is to develop methods that will make e-textile technology available to crafters, students, and hobbyists. This paper describes the techniques and employs them as a springboard for a wider-ranging discussion of "e-textile craft"


MORE PUBLICATIONS



Eisenberg, M. and Eisenberg, A.

Sensory Extension as a Tool for Cognitive Learning

In Handbook of Research on Maximizing Cognitive Learning through Knowledge Visualization (ed. A. Ursyn).  2015.



Oh, H.; Gross, M.; and Eisenberg, M.

FoldMecha:  Design for Linkage-Base Paper Toys

UIST '15 Adjunct: Adjunct Proceedings of the 28th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software & Technology


We present FoldMecha, a computational tool to help non-experts design and build paper mechanical toys. By customizing templates a user can experiment with basic mechanisms, design their own model, print and cut out a folding net to construct the toy. We used the tool to build two kinds of paper automata models: walkers and flowers.



Oh, H.; Eisenberg, M.; Gross, M.; Hsi, S.

Paper mechatronics: a design case study for a young medium

IDC '15 Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children.  Medford, MA, June 21-25, 2015.  Pages 371-374.


Paper Mechatronics is a novel interdisciplinary design medium for children, enabled by recent advances in craft technologies: the term refers to a reappraisal of traditional educational papercrafts in combination with accessible mechanical, electronic, and computational elements. We present a design case study--building computationally-enhanced paper flowers--and discuss the iterative design process involved in the creation. We also describe a workshop we conducted with teenagers to evaluate paper mechatronics as a creative learning activity for children. We conclude with a discussion of future directions.



Oh, H.; Gross, M.

Cube-In:  A Learning Kit for Physical Computing Basics

TEI ’15:  Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction.  Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.  January 15-19, 2015.


We present Cube-in, a kit designed to help beginners learn about fundamental concepts in physical computing. Through play and observation, Cube-in users can investigate digital and analog signals, inputs and outputs, and mapping between inputs and outputs before they work on electronics and construct circuits. By simplifying interaction methods, Cube-in provides an accessible entry point to key physical computing concepts.



Kim, J.; Oh, H.; Yeh, T.

A Study to Empower Children to Design Movable Tactile Pictures for Children with Visual Impairments

TEI ’15:  Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction.  Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.  January 15-19, 2015.


3D Printing has shown a great potential to print tactile picture books, in order to cultivate emergent literacy for children with visual impairments. However, currently available 3D design tools are hard to learn, resulting in children to be excluded from the participatory design of tactile pictures. Also, existing 3D design software lacks of functionality to incorporate mobility and rich textures, which is critical aspect of the effective tactile picture. In this paper, we review our formative studies, presenting a hands-on design process for children to empower their own creativities into 3D tactile pictures design, and to engage them to bring other materials to enhance touch experiences.



Eisenberg, M.; Basman, A.; and Hsi, S.

Math on a Sphere: Making Use of Public Displays in Mathematics and Programming Education

Knowledge Management & E-Learning, 6:2, pp. 140-155, 2014.

An extended version of a shorter conference paper presented at Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2013).


Science on a Sphere (SoS) is a compelling educational display installed at numerous museums and planetariums around the world; essentially the SoS display is a large spherical surface on which multicolor high-resolution depictions of (e.g.) planetary weather maps may be depicted. Fascinating as the SoS display is, however, it is in practice restricted to the use of museum professionals; students (and for that matter, older museum visitors) are unable to create their own displays for the surface. This paper describes a working software system, Math on a Sphere (MoS), that democratizes the SoS display by providing a simple programming interface to the public, over the World Wide Web. Briefly, our system allows anyone to write programs for spherical graphics patterns, and then to upload those programs at a planetarium or museum site and see the result on the giant sphere. This paper describes the implementation of the MoS system; sketches a sample project; and concludes with a more wide-ranging discussion of our user testing to date, as well as strategies for empowering children and students with greater control of public displays.



Leduc-Mills, B. and Eisenberg, M.

PopCAD:  Toward Paper-Based Fabrication Tools for Education

FabLearn ’14:  Stanford University, CA.  Oct. 25-26, 2014


This paper describes a working prototype device, PopCAD, for straightforward, tangible 3-dimensional input and design. PopCAD is a paper-based pop-up computational artifact that can be carried about easily and unfolded into its "working" instrumental form. When unfolded, PopCAD allows the user to switch on LED lights in a 3D spatial array; the positions of these lights are sent to a desktop computer for display and manipulation in real time. The intent of the device is thus twofold: first, to provide an experience of embodied construction for students and 3D designers, and second, to illustrate the power and potential of designing working sophisticated instruments based on an inexpensive, flexible paper substrate. We describe PopCAD's architecture, its origins in earlier projects, and the learning potential inherent in such a device. We also show a variety of project ideas that the device can implement and we discuss what the device implies for the future of paper-based tangible instrumentation.


Ananthanarayan, S.; Lapinski, N.; Siek, K.; and Eisenberg, M.

Towards the Crafting of Personal Health Technologies

DIS ’14:  Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Designing Interactive Systems. Vancouver, BC, Canada, June 21-25, 2014.


We introduce a novel approach that merges craft and health technologies to empower people to design and build their own personal health visualizations. In this mutually beneficial union, health technologies can be more meaningful to an individual and encourage higher appropriation, while craft technologies can explore interesting problems in a challenging domain. In this paper, we offer a framework for designing health-craft systems and showcase a system that provides users with the ability to craft their own personalized wearable device. The device tracks their outdoor exposure and visualizes their weekly progress on an ambient tree painting. Finally, we report on a pilot study using this personalized feedback system. Our main contribution is the new lens through which designers can approach health and craft technologies that enhances health management with personal expressiveness and customization.