Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab present 3D Printed Touch and Pressure Sensors at Interact'15 Conference
Queen's professor Roel Vertegaal and students Jesse Burstyn, Nicholas Fellion, and Paul Strohmeier, introduced PrintPut, a new method for integrating simple touch and pressure sensors directly into 3D printed objects. The project was unveiled at the INTERACT 2015 conference in Bamberg, Germany: one of the largest conferences in the field of of human-computer interaction.
PrintPut is a method for 3D printing that embeds interactivity directly into printed objects. When developing new artifacts, designers often create prototypes to guide their design process about how an object should look, feel, and behave. PrintPut uses conductive filament to offer an assortment of sensors that an industrial designer can easily incorporate into these 3D designs, including buttons, pressure sensors, sliders, touchpads, and flex sensors.
Existing touch solutions, even if flexible, cannot seamlessly wrap around many non-planar objects. Alternatively, using many individual sensors introduces wires that are difficult to manage and impede interaction. PrintPut addresses these concerns by seamlessly integrating interaction points within the existing surface geometry of the object and internally routing the wires to a common connection point.
PrintPut's main components are conductive ABS filament, a dual-extruder 3D printer, and a series of scripts to generate conductive geometry. After a designer makes an object with sensor geometry, they import it into their 3D printer’s build manager and assign the base and conductive geometry to standard and conductive filaments, respectively. Once the object is printed, sensor values can be easily read by connecting it to an Arduino or other microcontroller with alligator clips.
About Human Media Lab
The Human Media Lab (HML) at Queen’s University is one of Canada's premier Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) laboratories. Inventions include ubiquitous eye tracking sensors, Smart Pause, PaperPhone, the world’s first flexible phone and PaperTab, the world’s first flexible paper computer. HML is directed by Dr. Roel Vertegaal, Professor of HCI at Queen's University's School of Computing. Working with him is a number of graduate and undergraduate students with computing, design, psychology and engineering backgrounds.
High resolution photographs of PrintPut are available rights-free below.
Burstyn, J., Fellion, N., Strohmeier, P., and Vertegaal, R. PrintPut: Resistive and Capacitive Input Widgets for Interactive 3D Prints. In Proceedings of INTERACT 2015. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2015, pp. 332-339.