A goal-oriented design tool of a modular four-bar linkage mechanism
by Sen Dai
SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURE STUDIES
AT THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Recent advances in materials science and manufacturing technology have not only provided promising opportunities for industrial and product design but have also catalyzed the emerging areas of transformable material design. This field of transformable material design is a multidisciplinary subject that provokes and inspires researchers to innovate.
In the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), in particular, research has been looking beyond static, rigid physical interfaces to explore the rich transformability of input/output devices using transformable materials. However, most transformable materials require a unique mechanism or structure, making them suitable for specific tasks, but difficult to implement broadly.
Moreover, due to the techniques used, most are not reconfigurable. So, is there a reconfigurable transformable material mechanism that can include multiple functions in its structure and can switch easily between functions autonomously? If yes, the design space for it would be incredibly large and the challenge is – how to design with this reconfigurable transformable material mechanism?
As a response to this question, this thesis by Sen Dai proposes a modularized mechanism for designing transformable materials, as well as a design tool to help the designer make reconfigurable transformable material structures. With the design tool, designers can easily explore the huge design space made possible by the mechanism by simply inputting their design goal represented as curves. The tool will automatically generate the desired transformable structures.