Beyond phones, watches, and activity tracking devices, a new ecosystem of functional and fashionable wearable technologies can easily, safely, and economically be designed, prototyped, and integrated directly on the body. In this paper, we present AlterNail, a fingernail form factor, ambient, low-power, stateful, wireless, dynamic display with onboard vibrational sensing. AlterNail integrates a batteryless design using inductive coupling with e-ink technology to enable both quick dynamic and long-term static fingernail based visual designs without the need for power. We also detail the use of simple vibrational signals to uniquely identify everyday objects as they are handled using AlterNails. The intentionally limited interactional functionality of AlterNails, coupled with the rich personal and dynamic expressive potential, combine to present a compelling range of opportunities for designers of new interactive wearable technologies. We detail a range of practical and playful applications using this technology.
Novice programmers often have trouble installing, configuring, and managing disparate tools (e.g., version control systems, testing infrastructure, bug trackers) that are required to become productive in a modern collaborative software development environment. To lower the barriers to entry into software development, we created a prototype IDE for novices called CodePilot, which is, to our knowledge, the first attempt to integrate coding, testing, bug reporting, and version control management into a real-time system. CodePilot enables multiple users to connect to a web-based collaborative programming session and work together on several major phases of software development. An eight-subject exploratory user study found that first-time users of CodePilot spontaneously used it to assume roles such as developer/tester and developer/assistant when creating a web application together in pairs. Users felt that CodePilot could aid in scaffolding for novices, situational awareness, and lowering barriers to impromptu collaboration.
Recent digital fabrication tools have enabled new form-giving using a wide range of physical materials. However, light as a first class creative material has been largely ignored within the design of our electronic objects. Our work expands the illumination design space by treating light as a physical material. We introduce a digital design tool that simulates and visualizes physical light interactions with a variety of materials for creating custom luminaires. We further develop a computational design and fabrication process for creating custom secondary optics elements (SOEs), which provides additional handles for users to physically shape and redirect light to compose, fill, and evenly diffuse planar and volumetric geometries. Through a workshop study with novice electronic designers, we show how incorporating physical techniques to shape light alters how users view the role and function of LEDs and electronics. We produce example pieces that showcase how our approach expands the electronics aesthetic and discuss how viewing light as material can engender novel, expressive artifacts.