ACM SIGCHI, May 2016
We present a novel optimization-based algorithm for the design and fabrication of customized, deformable input devices, capable of continuously sensing their deformation. We propose to embed piezoresistive sensing elements into flexible 3D printed objects. These sensing elements are then utilized to recover rich and natural user interactions at runtime. Designing such objects manually is a challenging and hard problem for all but the simplest geometries and deformations. Our method simultaneously optimizes the internal routing of the sensing elements and computes a mapping from low-level sensor readings to user-specified outputs in order to minimize reconstruction error. We demonstrate the power and flexibility of the approach by designing and fabricating a set of flexible input devices. Our results indicate that the optimization-based design greatly outperforms manual routings in terms of reconstruction accuracy and thus interaction fidelity.