Individual Work (academic), 2019

Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT

The project approaches privacy in the lens of affordances as an analog experiment initiated by the user. Based on the patterns the distribution of ferrofluid inside a screen box triggers, it aims for three types of affordances: readability, transformability, and tactile-ability. Via material testing two main challenges are overcome: the substances’ uniform distribution in the screen box for a specific amount of time and their stainless interaction. One out of the four different material combinations tested - water, ferrofluid, and soap - reached the aimed results. To control ferrofluid’s ionized behavior a rule-based system is designed bringing the screen to a transparent, an intermediate, and an opaque state. Ferrofluid stays in each state as long as the correct magnet combination is reached. With four magnetic buttons of opposite polarity initially placed inside four sets of slots on each box corner, transparency is the default state. Six etched ‘on/off’ symbols matching with the ones on the magnetic buttons is designed on the screen, trigger the user’s interaction with it and the in-between state. The state of total opaqueness is reached once the magnets are back to their original position.

Final prototype

Magnetic polarity spacing analysis

Design rules

Assembly of the final prototype

Final prototype and design rules

Final prototype

Final prototype testing