MS Thesis Defense by Austina Nguyen
Friday, June 11, 2004

(Dr. David W. Rosen, Chair)

"Designing, Manufacturing, And Predicting Deformation of A Formable Crust Matrix"


Digital Clay will be a physical human-interaction device capable of deforming into various shapes via computer control (shape display), as well as being shaped by a user in a manner similar to real clay (shape editing). This NSF sponsored research team consists of seven different fields of studies (MEMS, Controls, Fluids, CS, Rapid Prototyping, Interface, Kinematics) and 20+ people. Presently one feature of the digital clay device is a deformable crust skin made of small modular flexible unit cells. The skin will be the physical interface for the user’s input and output of the desired design.

In the Rapid Prototyping area, the stereolithography (SLA) technique is used to create the deformable skin. The SLA process can build three-dimensional physical parts using computer data with little human interaction. With this process, it is possible to achieve greater shape complexity and flexibility than other manufacturing or prototyping techniques.
The main goals of the Rapid Prototyping department for Digital Clay are: manufacturing the deformable crust that the users interface with while considering MEMS technology into the design.

These goals are broken up into several tasks:
• Design a deformable skin using rapid prototyping technology with consideration in scalability, shape generation capability, and longevity.
• Quantify the mechanical properties of SLA material to reduce and predict aging of the skin.
• Expand the inverse kinematic equations for one unit cell of the modular deformable skin to calculate all the deformation angles of the whole skin.
• Incorporate the joint stiffness for each unit cell of the skin from the mechanical properties of SLA to modify the “inverse kinematic” into “inverse statics” equations.
Verify the designed and manufactured skin behavior by measuring the shape deformation of the skin.