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Tuesday 12pm, 11 October 2016

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The Toastboard: Ubiquitous Instrumentation and Automated Checking of Breadboarded Circuits | Aesthetic Electronics: Designing, Sketching, and Fabricating Circuits through Digital Exploration

Daniel Drew, Joanne Lo & Cesar Torres

PhD Students - Berkeley Institute of Design

Abstract

The Toastboard: Ubiquitous Instrumentation and Automated Checking of Breadboarded Circuits
Presenter: Daniel Drew

The recent proliferation of easy to use electronic components and toolkits has introduced a large number of novices to designing and building electronic projects. Nevertheless, debugging circuits remains a difficult and time-consuming task. This paper presents a novel debugging tool for electronic design projects, the Toastboard, that aims to reduce debugging time by improving upon the standard paradigm of point-wise circuit measurements. Ubiquitous instrumentation allows for immediate visualization of an entire breadboard's state, meaning users can diagnose problems based on a wealth of data instead of having to form a single hypothesis and plan before taking a measurement. Basic connectivity information is displayed visually on the circuit itself and quantitative data is displayed on the accompanying web interface. Software-based testing functions further lower the expertise threshold for efficient debugging by diagnosing classes of circuit errors automatically. In an informal study, participants found the detailed, pervasive, and context-rich data from our tool helpful and potentially time-saving.


Aesthetic Electronics: Designing, Sketching, and Fabricating Circuits through Digital Exploration
Presenters: Joanne Lo & Cesar Torres

As interactive electronics become increasingly intimate and personal, the design of circuitry is correspondingly developing a more playful and creative aesthetic. Circuit sketching and design is a multidimensional activity which combines the arts, crafts, and engineering broadening participation of electronic creation to include makers of diverse backgrounds. In order to support this design ecology, we present Ellustrate, a digital design tool that enables the functional and aesthetic design of electronic circuits with multiple conductive and dielectric materials. Ellustrate guides users through the fabrication and debugging process, easing the task of practical circuit creation while supporting designers' aesthetic decisions throughout the circuit authoring workflow. In a formal user study, we demonstrate how Ellustrate enables a new electronic design conversation that combines electronics, materials, and visual aesthetic concerns.

Bio

Daniel Drew is a third year PhD student working with professor Bjoern Hartmann at UC Berkeley. His current focus is on developing new tools to aid in engineering education and the maker movement. Daniel has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship as well as an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department Excellence award.


Joanne Lo is a fourth year PhD student in Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley. She is studying Human-Computer Interactions under Professor Paulos to develop simple yet creative fabrications methods for the Maker's community. Joanne received her B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering and M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from UC Davis.

Cesar Torres is a Computer Science & New Media PhD student at UC Berkeley advised by computer-scientist-artist Eric Paulos. His research projects explore digital fabrication technologies as exciting, critical new media. He recently made design tools for enabling data sculpture, dynamic modeling, and haptic design for 3D printing. He also moonlights as a graphic designer and street muralist. He holds a BA in Art Practice and BS in Computer Science from Stanford.