Deformable Controllers

Fabrication and Design to Promote Novel Hand Gestural Interaction Mechanisms

Organizers: Victor Cheung, Alexander K. Eady, Audrey Girouard

March 18, 2018, Stockholm, Sweden
Four images illustrating deformable controllers and DIY sensors.
Deformable controllers and sensors. From left to right: a game controller with a flexible mid-section, a DIY bend/pressure sensor, a flexible case around a mobile phone, a DIY optical bend sensor.

What the workshop entails

Build a unique deformable controller that lets you bend, twist, and even stretch! In this studio you will learn to use deformation sensors as an organic and tangible means of human-computer interaction, and you will gain hands-on experience in using these sensors to build deformable controllers. The goal of this studio is to provide a platform to share resources and transfer knowledge of deformable sensors/materials, to foster creativity in using deformable devices as input controllers that harness the wide range of gestures that deformation enables, and to move beyond recreating touch/click inputs in deformable device interactions.

What is required?

Participants are expected to be comfortable with crafting and have a basic knowledge of using Arduino (e.g., programming, circuit board wiring), and should bring a laptop with the Arduino IDE and Processing installed. You’ll also want to have the Arduino (Firmata) library added to Processing (don’t worry if you aren’t sure what it is, we’ll cover that during the studio). A creative mind is a huge plus!


Find out more information about the TEI’18 conference and how to attend the studio (e.g., venue and registration fees) at this link:

Questions about the studio?

Contact Victor at victor[dot]cheung[at]

Update on 12 March 2018

The studio is happening in less than a week and we have reached our full capacity (thank you for registering)! To better prepare yourself for the studio, we recommend downloading the necessary software (Arduino IDE and Processing) listed above with their corresponding links. We have also created a GitHub repository providing some information and code samples for the studio:

We also encourage you to bring in the deformable controllers you previously made, or applications (made in Processing or accept Serial inputs) to take advantage of the brainstorming session.

We look forward to meeting you at the studio and conference!

Update on 16 April 2018

Thank you very much for attending the studio. We hope you had a great time as much as we did. As promised here are the materials during the session:

Let us know if you run a similar session in your class or lab, we’d love to hear how it went. Let us know if you have any questions!




Deformable User Interfaces: Using Flexible Electronics for Human Computer Interaction

Audrey Girouard, Alexander Keith Eady

IEEE International Flexible Electronics Technology Conference, 2018


Deformable Controllers: Fabrication and Design to Promote Novel Hand Gestural Interaction Mechanisms

Victor Cheung, Alexander Keith Eady, Audrey Girouard

ACM Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interactions TEI 2018, 2018


Building flexible smartphones and designing for deformable UIs

Audrey Girouard

CanUX, 2017


Bendswipe: One-handed Target Zooming for Flexible Handheld Devices

Aditi Singh, Mayank Chhabra, Keyur Sorathia

The ACM Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing (CAN-CWiC), 2017