Project 2 – Hydrogels (Amos, Dan, Karishma, Laya, Nassia)

Our group worked on using the interactive properties of hydrogels. Instead of hacking a material to come up with new properties, we decided to hack interactions/use the properties that hydrogel currently has. The properties we tested out include: 

  • Tunable Thermal Behavior
  • Edible
  • Conducts Electricity
  • Acoustically Transparent
  • Refraction index of water

Hydrogel is 97% water. The process of making Hydrogel included boiling water and then adding a gelling agent that was then put into different shapes and sized containers. The gel would solidify over time (about 5 – 10 minutes) and then you could pick it up from these moulds. We used petridishes, test tubes and ice cube trays. Below are a few pictures of the process.

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The Edible Ice Cubes – When these food colored ice-cubes of gel are added to water, the coloring starts to naturally change the color of the drink. We thought about interactions here that could include noticing if someone tampered with your drink or not and notifying the drinker about this.

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Based on these initial explorations, we decided to focus our prototypes on the following:

  •  Edible Interaction
  • Augmented Perception
  • Material Logic

The three prototypes/interactions we came up with include:

  • Yum! Gelecriticity – an interaction allowing children to create a relationship with food that can interact with them about these applications.
  • Open Gela-me – Being able to interact with someone over a meal or conversation through this panel that also seems like a mosiac piece of art.
  • I/O Gel – Being able to use the gel to be able to ‘save’ specific properties of foods and being able to experience a variety of tastes and flavors in a gel form. Could this be the future of food?

All videos for these interactions can be found in our presentation here.