PITAS: Sensing and Actuating Embedded Robotic Sheet for Physical Information Communication

ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)


This work presents PITAS, a thin-sheet robotic material composed of a reversible phase transition actuating layer and a heating/sensing layer. The synthetic sheet material enables non-expert makers to create shape-changing devices that can locally or remotely convey physical information such as shape, color, texture and temperature changes. PITAS sheets can be manipulated into various 2D shapes or 3D geometries using subtractive fabrication methods such as laser, vinyl, or manual cutting or an optional additive 3D printing method for creating 3D objects. After describing the design of PITAS, this paper also describes a study conducted with thirteen makers to gauge the accessibility, design space, and limitations encountered when PITAS is used as a soft robotic material while designing physical information communication devices. Lastly, this work reports on the results of a mechanical and electrical evaluation of PITAS and presents application examples to demonstrate its utility.

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