(Dr. Imme Ebert-Uphoff, advisor)
"Digital Clay: Architecture Designs for Shape-Generating Mechanisms"
This thesis examines the kinematic design of Digital Clay, a new type of computer interface that creates physical 3-D shapes that a user can interact with the same way they would with real clay. Specifically, this thesis focuses on the design of kinematic mechanisms that can be used in the Digital Clay to create these 3-D shapes. The objective for this work is the development of physically realizable actuated kinematic mechanisms that can be used to create a wide variety of shapes. This mechanism will be both an input and output device, formed either by a user physically manipulating the surface of the clay or by computer controlled actuation of the mechanism. This thesis covers four topics: (1) enumerating various potential mechanism designs, including a new class of mechanisms called Formable Crust Mechanisms, (2) implementing these mechanisms, (3) developing performance measures for evaluating potential designs, and (4) developing techniques for utilizing the most promising mechanisms: formable crust mechanisms.