PneUI – Pneumatically Driven Soft Shape Changing Interfaces

Research @ MIT Media Lab | 2013


This project presents an enabling technology to build shape-changing interfaces through pneumatically-actuated soft composite materials. The composite materials integrate the capabilities of both input sensing and active shape output. This is enabled by the composites’ multi-layer structures with different mechanical or electrical properties. The shape changing states are computationally controllable through pneumatics and pre-defined structure. We explore the design space of PneUI through four applications: height changing buildingstangible phicons, a morphing barshape changing mobile, a transformable tablet cases and a shape shifting lamp.

Publication | UIST2013 | PneUI: Pneumatically Actuated Soft Composite Materials for Shape Changing Interfaces | Yao, L., Niiyama, N., Ou, J., Follmer, S., Della Silva, C., and Ishii, H.. | Best Paper Award | Best Demo Nominee







Shape Primitive – Bending



Application – Shape Changing Lamp



Shape Primitive – Texture Change – Multi Stage Texture



Shape Primitive – Texture Change – Multi Layer Texture

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Pneumatic Control System

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 10.43.06 AM


Fabrication Process