Conducted at Morphing Matter Lab, HCII, CMU
︎Submitted to CHI '19
This work presents FoamFactor, a novel material with tunable stiffness and compressibility between hydration states, and a tailored pipeline to design and fabricate artifacts consisting of it. This technique compounds hydrogel with open-cell foams via additive manufacturing to produce a water-responsive composite material. Enabled by the large volumetric changes of hydrogel dispersions, the material is soft and compressible when dehydrated and becomes stiffer and rather incompressible when hydrated. Leveraging this material property transition, we explore its design space in various aspects pertaining the transition of hydration states, including multi-functional shoes, amphibious cars, mechanical transmission systems, and self-deploying robotic grippers.