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From Shape-Changing Interfaces to Chameleon Objects

What does it mean when physical things can easily change their shape and function? Shape change has been part of everything from toys to manufacturing for some time. Now as the cost of changing shape texture and look can be part of anything we make, what will we do with it?  Typical goals of shape changing technologies can be mimicry, social engagement, functional help, teaching, entertainment and social engagement. We call shape changes “chameleon” computing when the shape change goals are focused on semantic goals of interpretation and actual functional use.  Chameleon objects might specifically be well suited for persuasive entertaining and physical experiences.


Ted Selker is Director of Research on Accessible Voting at University of California Berkeley. Ted spent five years as Director of Considerate Systems research at Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley. He was also responsible for developing the campus’ research mission, teaching HCI, Android product design, and research in voting with disabilities.

Ted spent ten years as an Associate Professor at the MIT Media Laboratory where he created the Context Aware Computing group, co-directed the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, and directed the CI/DI kitchen of the future/design of the future project. Ted’s work strives to demonstrate considerate technology, in which people’s intentions are recognized and respected.