Welcome


Welcome to the Future Everyday Technology Research Lab (FETLab) at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The focus of our research is on making the tools of digital fabrication—like 3D printing and laser cutting—accessible to non-experts, and on improving the usability of wearable and mobile computing devices.

News

Our work on combining 3D printing and textiles was featured in IEEE Spectrum: Mechanical Metamaterials and Other 3D Printing Tech from CHI 2017.

The FETLab was featured in a story in the RIT University News magazine and online, including lab members Amanda Yung and Zhiyuan Li: Creating Tomorrow’s Technology Today.

Dr. Ashbrook quoted in New Scientist

FETLab director Dr. Daniel Ashbrook was quoted in a New Scientist article about hands-free interfaces: Earbud lets you control your phone with a wink or smile

Two upcoming publications

The FETLab has two new full papers accepted to CHI 2017: Bridging Between Volunteers and Clinicians: Challenges and Opportunities of Distributed DIY-AT, and Stretching the Bounds of 3D Printing with Embedded Textiles.

Research


Research in the FETLab focuses on two main areas: augmented fabrication and wearable computing.

Augmented Fabrication

Digital fabrication equipment, like 3D printers and laser cutters, is becoming increasingly available and affordable to home users. Currently, however, it’s difficult for non-experts to design and fabricate their own objects. Our research in this area concentrates on helping non-experts through augmented fabrication—fabricating directly with existing objects, rather than being constrained to traditional, standalone computer-aided design interfaces. Our research efforts in this area include:

Studying fabrication

To help people better use digital fabrication technology, we want to understand the problems they’re running into now. We’re doing ethnographically-inspired research into how current users of 3D printers are using their devices, what problems they run into, and how they’re overcoming those problems. Currently, we’re looking at the e-NABLE community—a worldwide group of volunteers who 3D print prosthetic hands for kids—and how its volunteer fabricators design, customize, print and assemble the hands.

Fabricating functional objects

Right now it’s easy for anyone to download and print a pre-designed object from Thingiverse, but designing an object to make it personal is a lot harder. We’re working on tools to help novices customize and print their own Internet-connected objects, from a bird that chirps for Twitter notifications to a box that sends a text message when the washing machine’s done.

Fabrication helpers

Digital fabrication can be tricky. Whether making an entirely new object with a 3D printer or modifying an existing object with a laser cutter, lots of specific knowledge is required. We’re working on building new hardware and software tools to help people more quickly and easily design for fabrication. Examples in this area include connected tools for measuring existing objects, in-situ design and preview for laser cutting, and automatically changing settings for fabrication based on the material to be used.

Wearable And Mobile Computing

Our work in wearable and mobile computing concentrates on enabling mobile microinteractions—interactions with a device that happen very quickly, with minimal interruption to whatever you were already doing. Our projects in this area include:

New interaction techniques

How can we quickly interact with our devices? We invent new methods for doing input and output with wearable devices. Previous work we’ve done in this area includes rings, watches, pendants, bands and gestures. We’re currently investigating non-speech-based hands-free microinteraction input techniques.

Publications


People


Daniel Ashbrook is the director of the Future Everyday Technology lab. His work concentrates on democratizing access to digital fabrication and wearable technology.

Carlos E. Tejada is a Ph.D. student with the Future Everyday Technology Lab.

Zhiyuan Li is a PhD student at the Future Everyday Technology lab. His current interest lies in computer vision and personal fabrication.

Amanda Yung is a Masters student in the HCI program.

Chandan Mahapatra is a graduate research assistant in the FETLab.

Jeremiah Parry-Hill is an MS candidate in Human-Computer Interaction at RIT. His research focus is on the work practices of amateur fabricators.

Tanmay Songade is a graduate student in Human-Computer Interaction at RIT. He is working as a Research Assistant in the Future Everyday Technology Lab. His interests lie in prototyping, designing and web development.

David Whitman-Kinghorn is an undergraduate research assistant in the FETLab.

James Spann is an undergraduate research assistant.

Michael Longley is an undergraduate research assistant in the FETLab.

Osamu Fujimoto is an undergrad in Computer Science with the Future Everyday Technology Lab.

Peregrine Hawthorn is an undergraduate research assistant in the FETLab.

Syed Tousif Ahmed is an undergraduate student in Computer Engineering at RIT. He is working as a Research Assistant in the Future Everyday Technology Lab. His interests lie in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Embedded Systems and Cryptography.

Alumni

Alan J Lambie (Phd)
Dhwanit Mehta (Masters)
Goudam Muralitharan (Masters)
Sabarinathan Masilamani (Nathan) (Masters)
Shitao Guo (Masters)
Shreya Tadas (Masters)
Xiaojie (Alice) Zeng (Masters)
Yebai Zhao (Masters)
Caitlyn Orta (Undergrad)

Contacting The Fetlab

The Future Everyday Technology Research Lab is a part of RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Science. To contact an individual, please see each person’s information above.

We are located on RIT’s campus in room 2330 of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing Information Science building, labeled GOL on the map below. Once you arrive at RIT, visit the Welcome Center (WEL on the map) to get a temporary parking permit; you may then park in any non-reserved space. The closest lots to the FETLab are J and S.