Bettina Nissen, Culture Lab, Newcastle University
This position paper is touching on themes of personalisation, algorithmic design and the relationship between digital information and physical artefacts from a perspective of a product designer and with a view on the increasing accessibility of digital fabrication tools to wider audiences.
With a background in product design and only recently having joined the HCI research community, I am interested in exploring the changing role of professional product designers and the process of designing in this emergent era of digital fabrication technology. The design and fabrication of physical objects, which until recently was only accessible to specialist engineers and manufacturers have been opened up to a wider audience. The boundary between professional and amateur or between ‘designer’ and ‘user’ are being increasingly merged. This enables non-specialist users to access, create and share 3-dimensional objects, shifting the focus from mass-production towards mass-customisation, from the design of products to the design of co-creation systems  and algorithmic frameworks allowing the user to generate their own personalized objects. Continue reading
Amit Zoran, MIT Media Lab
“Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness…”
Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren
I am interested in the story of objects, both physical and virtual ones. While physical artifacts are ephemeral and mortal, without permanence, virtual objects transcend this limitation, attracting us by the new possibilities they introduce into our lives. I am interested in this dichotomy, and the story of objects, freedom and immortality, as illustrated in this story:
Amit: I met my wife Tamar at Bezalel, the Israeli Academy of Art and Design. She was studying jewelry making, while I was working on my Master’s in design. Back then, Tamar specialized in silversmithing, making one-of-a-kind rings using hand tools. Improvising while working, Tamar made unique objects, which I admired, varying from figurative artifacts to abstract shapes. Continue reading
Ryan Schmidt, Autodesk Research
Matt Ratto, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
The evolution of computing is in large part driven by the development of novel hardware capabilities, which can only be fully exploited by new types of software interfaces. This is particularly evident in the early history of digital fabrication, where the development of CNC machines at MIT lead to an interest in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools, essentially to “create content” for this new hardware. Sutherland’s seminal SketchPad system [Sutherland63] – and hence the first Graphical User Interface – was one of the fruits of this endeavour.