Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2023

Document Type

Thesis (Ph.D.)

Department or Program

Computer Science

First Advisor

Xing-dong Yang

Second Advisor

Temiloluwa Prioleau

Third Advisor

Xia Zhou


The vision of computational materials is to create smart everyday objects using the materi- als that have sensing and computational capabilities embedded into them. However, today’s development of computational materials is limited because its interfaces (i.e. sensors) are unable to support wide ranges of human interactions , and withstand the fabrication meth- ods of everyday objects (e.g. cutting and assembling). These barriers hinder citizens from creating smart every day objects using computational materials on a large scale.

To overcome the barriers, this dissertation presents the approaches to develop compu- tational materials to be 1) sensitive to a wide variety of user interactions, including explicit interactions (e.g. user inputs) and implicit interactions (e.g. user contexts), and 2) makeable against a wide range of fabrication operations, such cutting and assembling. I exemplify the approaches through five research projects on two common materials, textile and wood. For each project, I explore how a material interface can be made to sense user inputs or activities, and how it can be optimized to balance sensitivity and fabrication complexity. I discuss the sensing algorithms and machine learning model to interpret the sensor data as high-level abstraction and interaction. I show the practical applications of developed computational materials. I demonstrate the evaluation study to validate their performance and robustness.

In the end of this dissertation, I summarize the contributions of my thesis and discuss future directions for the vision of computational materials.