Prototyping devices with kinetic mechanisms, such as automata and robots, has become common in physical computing projects. However, mechanism design in the early-concept exploration phase is challenging, due to the dynamic and unpredictable characteristics of mechanisms. We present Mechanism Perfboard, an augmented reality environment that supports linkage mechanism design and fabrication. It supports the concretization of ideas by generating the initial desired linkage mechanism from a real world movement. The projection of simulated movement within the environment enables iterative tests and modifications in real scale. Augmented information and accompanying tangible parts help users to fabricate mechanisms. Through a user study with 10 participants, we found that Mechanism Perfboard helped the participant to achieve their desired movement. The augmented environment enabled intuitive modification and fabrication with an understanding of mechanical movement. Based on the tool development and the user study, we discuss implications for mechanism prototyping with augmented reality and computational support.
CHI 2018, April 21-26, 2018, Montreal, QC, Canada
Linkage mechanism; prototyping; fabrication; augmented reality; computational design