Being the Machine: Reconfiguring Agency and Control in Hybrid Fabrication

Laura Devendorf, Kimiko Ryokai
ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (2015)

Abstract

This paper details the design and evaluation of Being the Machine, a portable digital fabrication system that places digital fabrication activity outside of the traditional fab lab environment. Being the Machine invites people to (re)consider materials found in their everyday and personal environment as part of the fabrication activity. We expand the design space involving hybrid (physical-digital) fabrication by describing how our system draws from art to support critical and reflective modes of making. In interaction with our system, participants distributed control between human and machine actors to support their preferred mode of making. These patterns reveal new opportunities and challenges for future hybrid fabrication systems, and suggest that designing for qualities of experience, like meditation and reflection, could support meaningful making experiences for many different kinds of makers.