Thesis Info

Thesis Title
A design exploration of an agent template for multiagent systems (MAS) for shape shifting tangible user interfaces.
Dr. Helen Hasenfuss (PhD)
2nd Author
3rd Author
Doctorate of Philosophy
Number of Pages
University of Limerick
Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Mikael Fernstrom
Supervisor e-mail
Mikael.Fernstrom AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Interaction Design Centre at Department of Computer Science and Information Systems
Languages Familiar to Author
English and German
URL where full thesis can be found
tangible interfaces, interactive interface design, novel agent design, self assembling, multiagent systems, STEAM method, creative haptic exploration
Abstract: 200-500 words
In the field of tangible, shape-shifting, interactive interfaces that are based on multiagent systems or programmable matter, communication and assembly mechanism have gained predominant attention. The results from this research has had a more direct influence with respect to more immediate application and implementation. In contrast, in the area of agent design, there has been little progress in moving from the tried and tested cube shape. Whilst the behavioural aspects of an autonomous agents are continuously developing, the body required to house such an awareness is lacking in refinement. The purpose of this study is to focus on an agent design, that has the potential to accommodate artificial autonomy. Bionics and biomimetics are influential fields that have impacted the research in this study. Biological structures and mechanisms have a strong influence in the field of interface design. This includes informing structural aspects of a design to the possibility of creating an internal and independent energy processing systems that enables an agent to become independent and self-reliant. Haptic exploration through the creation of prototypes and artworks have helped define the physical scope of the agent design and have contributed in clarifying the type of applications in which shape-shifting interfaces may be implemented in the future. This element of the study is particularly relevant for the aspect of creating an agent design that is versatile and adaptable. It must be capable of accommodating anomalies within its own system as well the unpredictable nature of human behaviour. Aside from the agent design which is the physical contribution of this study, the approach to the design process itself is also explored philosophically from the combined perspectives of a scientific and creative methodology –the STEAM approach. The importance of balancing these concepts is reflected throughout the study and is crucial in the development of multidisciplinary experts.