Poster Day Opening Keynote

Valkyrie Savage:
Fabrication for Interaction

2017-02-07 11:00 at MaRS Auditorium

Task-specific tangible input devices, like video game controllers, improve user speed and accuracy in input tasks compared to the more general-purpose touchscreen or mouse and keyboard. However, while modifying a graphical user interface (GUI) to accept mouse and keyboard inputs for new and specific tasks is relatively easy and requires only software knowledge, tangible user interface (TUI) devices are challenging to prototype and build. Rapid prototyping digital fabrication machines, such as vinyl cutters, laser cutters, and 3D printers, now permeate the design process for such devices. Using these tools, designers can realize a new tangible design faster than ever.

I’ll discuss a few interesting points where digital fabrication research has poked at the “typical” way of doing tangible designs. I’ll describe new authoring techniques for tangible objects, experiments in integrating electronics and other kinds of sensing modules into fabricated objects, and designs leveraging material properties and pre-fabrication simulations. I’ll also talk about my own work, which focuses on fabrication for sensing: using our pre-fabrication knowledge of a physical object to make post-fabrication sensing easier.

I call myself both a Digital Fabricatrix (as my thesis research revolved around digital fabrication) and a designveloper (as I like doing work as something between a UX designer and a developer). I’m now co-founder and CEO of Savage Internet, working roughly in the space of experiential education.

In 2016, I received a PhD from UC Berkeley working with Björn Hartmann: the talk you’ll see represents my thesis work. I hold a BA in Mathematics and a BS in Computer Science from Indiana University. I’m also an enthusiastic hobbyist, and have included custom electronics and digital fabrication in projects like my husband’s 3D printed wedding ring and an interactive baby blanket for new parent friends.