We met Yeliz Karadayi during the the Autodesk Artists in Residence Program, where she was showing off some of the work she’s doing in physically interactive computing. Wearing VR goggles and holding a pen connected to a flexible arm, I was able to draw objects in the air, giving them depth and weight. Once I drew a sphere, for example, the pen prevented me from drawing inside of its surface, physically resisting. That was the simplest expression of a haptic feedback system at work. The interface resisted my hand movements, giving my drawings the concrete sense of touching the surface of what I’d drawn. It changed the experience – suddenly, rather than drawing 2D objects, I really felt that I was sculpting the object in mid-air.

The Autodesk Residency Artist in Residence Program is an excellent example of San Francisco’s approach to innovation. The program allows artists, designers, engineers, innovators and makers to incubate creativity and collaboration in Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop. Residents work intensively on projects that push the limits of advanced tooling, experimental software, research and learning pathways. As part of their residency, all participants create an Instructable to showcase the process used to create their work; here’s a link to Yeliz’s projects.

In this interview, Karadayi shares her approach to integrating touch and haptic feedback into her design process.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a hybrid designer and developer with a focus on physical computing. I recently worked as an Artist in Residence at Autodesk’s Pier 9 office and am currently an Interaction Designer for R&D at Sony. My process involves synthesizing design, coding, and engineering skills. I thrive in interdisciplinary groups, working in collaboration with others to find delightful new interactions within a given time frame. I am focused on understanding beyond aesthetic and functional solutions, delving into what is success within an interaction system.

Through my work, I explore my passion for a future in which humans and machines can work together to perform collaborations that engage in creative design and fabrication processes, as well as exploring the social relationship people may have with machines. Where is the line between a collaborator and a tool? How can machines augment the analog process as opposed to replacing it? How do people understand the machines they work with, and how does it influence their perception of authorship?

I graduated with a Master’s of Tangible Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University in December 2015 and completed my undergraduate studies with a Bachelor in Architecture in May 2014. My graduate thesis, “Guided Hand,” was the culmination of my masters.

The project, ultimately a design-fabrication system, was my attempt to open up the dialogue about exploiting the strengths of computation, while still enabling a natural design-flow experience in which the designer is able to directly engage in their designs using haptics and 3D printing pens. After that, I went on to Autodesk’s Artist in Residence program, where I pursued a variation of Guided Hand, called clearCAD, that implements augmented reality.

The way that computer-based design tools work right now limits designers to a two-dimensional projection of multi-dimensional concepts. It flattens the experience, removing your sense of depth, touch, materiality, weight- pretty much everything other than a flat representation of what the product will look like. Through Guided Hand, I argue that there are other workflow systems that encourage for more engagement, allowing for designers to feel and spatially observe their prototypes, taking advantage of the benefits of computation design, such as efficiency and accuracy.

In Guided Hand I reconfigured a haptic feedback device called the Geomagic Touch in order to control a 3D printing pen. I was able to control the movement of the 3D printing pen so that it was contained within or constrained to the boundaries of a 3D geometry. This also allowed for textural haptic effects and recording prints in real-time.

This project was extremely eye-opening for me; while using it I realized that although I could now feel my virtual geometry and print it, manipulate it, and record my changes, I still felt trapped having to look at my computer screen to understand where my pen was in the virtual model. There was still a dissonance between what I’m doing and what I’m seeing.

I participated in Autodesk’s Artist in Residency program this past fall in order to pursue a similar system to Guided Hand, but one using AR while moving beyond the 3D printing element. At Autodesk I completed my latest project, clearCAD, a Haptic Augmented Reality CAD tool prototype. This project uses a similar haptic tool, called Geomagic Premium, to allow users wearing an Augmented Reality device to draw their designs three-dimensionally in the space in front of them, using the haptic feedback device as their pen. As an object is drawn into the space, it is also haptically rendered, allowing the designer to feel the objects they create, as they are creating it.

WHY DO YOU DO IT?

I got invested in creating design tools during my time studying architecture – to feel a real connection to the designs I was making. I found it difficult to truly understand, intuitively, how the 3D spaces I was creating would truly feel when viewing it through the constraints of the 2D viewport on my screen. I realized that my projects were boiled to one or two sexy renderings from one point of view that framed a certain element, but did not truly capture the essence of the space.

So, I resorted to building physical models; I fell in love with studying material behaviors, realizing my best work always came from working with my hands. I had a better sense of the whole space, and a more intimate relationship with my work through the hands-on approach. I was able to pick up the results, feel it, put it up to different lights, and then decide where to go from there. I started making my own tools to push the experimentation further, and this is where I realized my interest in pushing design processes and making design tools. So, I applied to the master’s program to continue my research.

I used the program to push my agenda of research towards how design tools can combine our natural understanding of the world with the intelligence and perfection that we get from computation. My curiosity about the relationship people have with their technology gave me the opportunity for my work, within the niche of machine-aided design, to question our current understanding of how to use computers in the design world. Beyond that, I was interested in understanding how design tools impact our work, how we feel about our work, and how well we truly understand what we’ve made. Ultimately, I do it in order to bring that visceral human experience back into the computer-aided design process, encourage human-robot collaboration, and of course, delight users with exciting new possibilities.

WHAT’S NEXT?

For an interaction designer like me, who is interested in bringing tangibility into computer experiences, I was ecstatic to hear this year about the concept behind Industry 5.0, a movement to bring human touch back into the manufacturing process. I think my work would fit well under the umbrella of that movement, although I see the systems I make falling more into the early design/prototyping phase of development. It’s encouraging to see that the manufacturing industry is taking an interest in human involvement and creative collaboration.

My work has opened up a lot of doors for me. I have my whole life ahead of me, and there is a lot left to be done with clearCAD and Guided Hand. I see potential for them as viable tools in the future, after more development. I definitely see Augmented Reality and haptics as the future for design tools, and in combination with the ever-improving robotics industry, there are endless possibilities for collaboration. For now, after having acquainted myself with AR and manufacturing machines, I am very interested in pushing my skills to develop collaborative robots, taking advantage of MR (Mixed Reality) to combine physical tools and environments with virtual ones, and blending the lines between the digital and physical worlds we use every day.

Yeliz Karadayi at the Autodesk Residency showcase.

Yeliz Karadayi at the Autodesk Residency showcase.


Photos courtesy of Autodesk/Yeliz Karadayi.