Abstract Caroline Yan Zheng May14 2018

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Sentimental Machines: Affective & touch experience enabled by soft robotic interfaces


My research and practice investigate emotionally engaging properties of soft robotic artefacts, and the novel sensory experiences enabled by these creature-like machines, when interacting with the human body. I create wearable artefacts and toolkits to engage designers and the public in critically imagining possible affective relations with these disruptive materials. The practice has recently focused on crafting robotic interface that performs active affective touch on human skin. Through collaborative work, I also reflect on how design research and practice contributes to this emerging field.


BIO Caroline Yan Zheng is a researcher and designer working at the intersection of fashion, soft robotics and experience design. Trained in ESMOD Paris for fashion design and pattern cutting, she holds an MA in Fashion Futures from London College of Fashion. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, in Information Experience Design (IED) and Fashion. Her practice-led research explores the design space of affective, sensual interfaces and synthetic touch enabled by soft robotic technologies. She has also initiated Sentimental Machines, a cross-disciplinary forum exploring human-machine relationships mediated by affective technology and robotics. Her work and workshops have been at the V&A Museum, London Design Festival, STATE of Emotion Festival Berlin, Athens Digital Art Festival, and Manchester Science Festival, among others.