Understanding physical activity through 3D printed material artifacts

Rohit Ashok Khot, Larissa Hjorth, Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we advocate a novel approach of representing physical activity in the form of material artifacts. By designing such material representations, we aim to understand what these artifacts might offer in terms of reflecting upon physical activity. For example, what types of affect do material artifacts, representing ones' physical activity create for the user? In order to advance this understanding, we designed a system called SweatAtoms that transforms the physical activity data based on heart rate into 3D printed material artifacts. We conducted an "in the wild study" by deploying our system in six households where participants were experiencing five different material representations of their physical activity for a period of two weeks each. We found that the material artifacts made participants more conscious about their involvement in physical activity and illustrated different levels of engagement with the artifacts. Along with reporting the gained insights from the deployments, we offer reflections on designing material representations for physical activity. We hope that our work will inspire designers to consider new possibilities afforded by digital fabrication to support user's experience with physical activity by utilizing interactive technologies at our disposal.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings, Toronto, Canada I April 26 – May 1, 2014
Subtitle of host publicationThe 32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsAlbrecht Schmidt, Tovi Grossman
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450324731
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014 - Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 26 Apr 20141 May 2014
Conference number: 32nd
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/2556288 (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014
Abbreviated titleCHI 2014
Internet address


  • 3D printing
  • Digital fabrication
  • Entertainment
  • Personal informatics
  • Physical exercise
  • Quantifiable self

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