3D Printing Pneumatic Device Controls with Variable Activation Force Capabilities

We explore 3D printing physical controls whose tactile response can be manipulated programmatically through pneumatic actuation. In particular, by manipulating the internal air pressure of various pneumatic elements, we can create mechanisms that require different levels of actuation force and can also change their shape. We introduce and discuss a series of example 3D printed pneumatic controls, which demonstrate the feasibility of our approach. This includes conventional controls, such as buttons, knobs and sliders, but also extends to domains such as toys and deformable interfaces. We describe the challenges that we faced and the methods that we used to overcome some of the limitations of current 3D printing technology.

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Reference

Vázquez, M., Brockmeyer, E., Desai, R., Harrison, C. and Hudson, S. 2015. 3D Printing Pneumatic Device Controls with Variable Activation Force Capabilities. In Proceedings of the 33nd Annual SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Seoul, Korea, April 18 - 23, 2015). CHI '15. ACM, New York, NY. 1295-1304.

© Chris Harrison