Thermochromic Ink Tiles


Ceramics and screenless interface relate to my thesis project. I took my final for Computational Craft as an opportunity to dig into the subject. I began with the question of how might I use thermochromic ink to display visual state changes in ceramics? Upon digging into the research I found that ceramics and thermochromic are being combined, but not for visual display purposes. While my initial inclination was to do a materials study, through the process I found in an intriguing application of my idea. My prototyping process using polymer clay acted as initial steps in my proof of the concept for this exciting materials and display opportunity: tiles as a display. 

I went through a series of tests swatches through my prototyping phase. In the process, I made some interesting discoveries. Firstly, thermochromic ink can be incorporated in and survive the baking temperature of polymer clay. Secondly, one can also bake the resistive wire at this temperature. These points lead me to speculate that some very interesting jewelry or physical forms could be created using this process.

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Challenges and Future Iterations

I had drawn the connection mentally between the idea of a LED matrix and of tile matrixes (as in the kind used to lay interior tiles in the home). However, I soon found that the electrical principals do not translate seamlessly between the two mediums. In my case, I used resistive wire to create the heat which changes each tile. This works well for single tiles, even in a series, but in terms of making an addressable grid of these tiles, a la LED matrix, I ran into an issue. As you know, electricity takes the path of least resistance. Consider if a tile matrix were set up in a LED matrix circuit fashion. How one would make a column of tiles change color when, considering the resistance, the electricity would stop at the first tile’s ground out? It remains unclear to me and having asked Liza as well as Adiel, the answer seems to lie is in individually addressable tile points which use a shift register with built-in MOFSET to regulate the power load. For my means, I solved this issue by treating each row of tile in my grid as a series. Sustained pulses of electricity from the Arduino and connected 9V battery built up the heat and created color change effectively. For my means, I solved this issue by treating each row of tile in my grid as a series. Sustained pulses of electricity from the Arduino and connected 9V battery built up the heat and created color change effectively. In future iterations, I plan to get my hands on a

For my means, I solved this issue by treating each row of tile in my grid as a series. Sustained pulses of electricity from the Arduino and connected 9V battery built up the heat and created color change effectively. For my means, I solved this issue by treating each row of tile in my grid as a series. Sustained pulses of electricity from the Arduino and connected 9V battery built up the heat and created color change effectively. In future iterations, I plan to get my hands on a TPIC6B595 chip and work on treating each tile effectively as a pixel. I also look forward to expanding on the materials side of this concept and working with earthenware clay.


I consider this idea my intellectual property and idea I intend to further it. Therefore I have created a purpose-abstracted Instructable which you can find here.

Flexinol Cat

Flexinol Cat Alexandria Smith

Flexinol is difficult to use, but super cool!! I definitely need to explore this material more!


Moldable foam (for the cat)

roofing copper (for the button)

Scotch tape(for the tail)

Flexinol (in the tail)

Things I learned:

  1. Wires should be closer together in order to make the flexinol strong enough to move the tail
  2. The tape I used was too thick to show large movement
  3. Foam is super cool, but also super dangerous.
  4. Flexinol burns very quickly!


Final Project- The Mini Midi Controller for kids :)

Final Project- The Mini Midi Controller for kids 🙂

Alexandria Smith

How to make a child’s first midi controller or introduction to music!

-Uses the Tone library now, but I will add how to connect to Ableton later

Level = Easy-Intermediate 

students in an after school program (3rd-12th grade); must be done with a facilitator. A great project for students to use simple circuits to learn basic code, information about sound, and how to use Ableton Live (later).

The Controller- There are three shapes, square (2), circle (1), triangle (1).  Once connected to Ableton Live, I would like the squares to be a symbol for rhythm (the students will map it to some kind of drum output), the circle would symbolize effects (reverb, cathedral, distortion, etc), and the triangle for auxiliary instruments or samples.

Prior knowledge necessary (facilitator if working with a beginner class):

coding with Arduino IDE

using the Arduino Tone library



proper use of conductive thread

knowledge of various conductive materials


Process- I had a problem that I wanted to solve.  This led me to think about how I could use conductive materials and wires (needed for arduino uno) in a seamless way that is easy enough for a child to do!

Challenges- I spend hours trying to get it working with Ableton Live.  I feel like I am so close and that I will figure it out really fast after I take some space from the project

What did I learn- The beginning of connecting serial and midi using OSC, that not all arduinos (at least I can’t figure this out…) can work with the Ableton Connection Pack, that I should think more about how I want my images to represent my musical ideas, and how I would teach young students how to make this.

Next Steps:

Smoother interfaces

Wearable controllers

Controllers made out of both hard and soft material.

Connection to Ableton Live or Logic.
Pictures show 2 versions of my project




Nitinol Wire_ Albee

I tried multiple kinds of form and material with nitinol wire this time…. although most of them seem failed

But I have learned:

  1. The attachment with paper should hold better together with nitinol wire, so it could show better movement while interacting with paper.
  2. I was actually combining the conductive thread with the wire as the images below, which is not necessary because the way might cause some short or decrease the electrons from nitinol wire.


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I used the linear trained version, but I realized it would be better to use spiral one to create the more active and realistic effect. Next time, I’d like to train by myself or get a trained wire having different movement pattern.

I controlled the amount of heat through Arduino so that the wire was not able to be burnt.

Here is the link that I purchased the wire.


[Paper speaker]

*Issues that I found while creating speaker

I tried several times by sewing and attaching conductive thread on a paper in a spiral shape and I found that it is important to not only keep the closest distance between each gap but using the conductive silver thread that Liza gave us to get a quality sound.
Moreover, I knew that if I use thick paper or fabric, it hinders the sound waves to vibrate easily.

I found is a further information how to create a speaker:

[Solder amplifier]

Soldering two elegator clips, lithium Ion Polymer Battery, and two sides of audio cable! it was quite challeging because of having very small room for soldering.

[Connect the amplifier to paper speaker and play the music by using magnets]

Plugin the audio cable to my phone and after hitting play button, I could listen to it by swaying the magnets above the paper speaker (or I could just attach the magnet on it).

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Final Project_Misung Kim



My instructable link is here.

Project Description

Snowy mobile speaker is an interactive speaker that I created it as my personal expression to get away from mundane Christmas day and enjoy it with.
Since I crafted this by folding origami and running basic led Arduino code, beginners or elementary after school STEAM club are also manage to create it and have fun together if they have materials.

For referring to snowflakes origami, I researched three dimensional origami, and in terms of making the frame, Alexander Calder’s mobile was the ideal precedent for my project.
Based on his mobile mechanism, I drew my own drawing and make frames with wires.
In order to make it more like snowflakes and looks active, I used trained Flexinol and white and silver colored papers.

First of all, I had a difficulty in making an amplifier circuit. I tried several kinds of conductive threads and attach on one of the biggest origami but it is smaller than I expected so for future iteration, I will try to embed all things like Arduino and speaker and other circuits in origami.

What I learned from this project

I learned how to link Flexino to Arduino and how to use it not only technically but in design wise. I also found which thread works better than others to make quality sounds.

For future iteration, I’d like to use sprial trained muscle wires to move them up and down naturally. Also I will embed all circuits and Arduino in the orgami and make more snowflakes as if it looks snowing.

Feedback from class

It can be applied to express corals
Because of the display which I left the hole only for the project, it looks like a holiday window and makes the project precious.





Final Thermochromic Project_ Albee Kang

In this project, I really take the time to test and play with thermochromic pigment. As a part of my background is fashion, I also bring the technique to weave by sheets that I paint. I am quite happy with this kind of idea to engage two different fields. 

” From Decomposition to reorganization ”

Instead of weaving before coloring it, I like how I paint the individual sheets first and use the weaving skill to make it into a brand new piece. (Kind of starting from not real idea to be a little art piece.) I also like the challenge of material choosing. The felt is actually working well that I thought— the structural thickness and also how the texture interacts with the paint.

I think I would love to work more on the combination of ideas into some other forms, eg. different woven style and the shapes that create out of the woven…. etc.

Feedback from class:

1. I agree with Sofia’s idea: to create the 8-bit images instead of a simple line sewing.

2. And what Cat said inspired me too …. ” think about what I have and continue work on it since it is already a pretty piece…. why adding just a deer or something which was not quite related.

Here is my Instructables 

Here is my slide