Designers and makers are increasingly interested in leveraging bio-based and bio-degradable ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) materials for sustainable prototyping. Their self-produced bioplastics possess compelling properties such as self-adhesion but have so far not been functionalized to create soft interactive devices, due to a lack of DIY techniques for the fabrication of functional electronic circuits and sensors. In this paper, we contribute a DIY approach for creating Interactive Bioplastics that is accessible to a wide audience, making use of easy-to-obtain bio-based raw materials and familiar tools. We present three types of conductive bioplastic materials and their formulation: sheets, pastes and foams. Our materials enable additive and subtractive fabrication of soft circuits and sensors. Furthermore, we demonstrate how these materials can substitute conventional prototyping materials, be combined with off-the-shelf electronics, and be fed into a sustainable material ‘life-cycle’ including disassembly, re-use, and re-melting of materials. A formal characterization of our conductors highlights that they are even on-par with commercially available carbon-based conductive pastes.
Marion Koelle, Madalina Nicolae, Aditya Shekhar Nittala, Marc Teyssier, Jürgen Steimle. Prototyping Soft Devices with Interactive Bioplastics. In Proceedings of the Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '22). ACM, New York, NY, USA Page: 1-16. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3526113.3545623