The UW's Allen School is a leader in fabrication research, with a wide diversity of research areas represented. For example, recent projects include using backscatter technology to provide wireless, battery-free analytics of 3D-printed objects; the creation of accessible maps for people with a broad range of visual and mobility profiles; and an analysis of 3D printing from a programming languages perspective. Our goal is to use computation to advance new manufacturing processes, expand the range of materials used for fabrication, and understand and develop practical applications and tools to democratize who can fabricate.
Fabrication research at the UW is highly interdisciplinary, and spans work in human computer interaction, graphics, programming languages, accessibility, and ubiquitous computing. Meet the people involved in fabrication research at the Allen School and learn more about our work through some of our recent successes highlighted below.
Graphics & Imaging Laboratory (GRAIL)
A group led by professor Adriana Schulz of the Allen School's Graphics & Imaging Lab (GRAIL) focuses on computational design to drive the next great wave of manufacturing innovation. Applying expertise in computer graphics and inspired by recent hardware advances, Schulz and her collaborators develop novel computational methods that empower users to create increasingly complex, integrated objects.
The Makeability Lab designs, builds, and evaluates interactive tools and techniques to address pressing societal challenges in accessibility, sustainability, education, and beyond. Many of our projects span the digital and physical — bits and atoms — to create novel interactive technology.
The Make4all Group applies technologies such as data science and 3D printing to improving inclusion in and accessibility of our digital future. One of our primary application domains is revolutionizing the production and delivery of 3D-printed assistive technologies. Other application areas include health, wellness, and sustainability.
We are currently looking for students! If you are interested in using computation to improve accessibility and wellness and to develop new computational methods for fabrication, learn more about working with us.
The Taskar Center for Accessible Technology (TCAT) develops, translates and deploys open-source, universally accessible technologies, with a focus on benefiting populations with motor limitations or speech impairment. TCAT works with students, faculty, and community partners on the rapid development, deployment and support of technologies to address a variety of accessibility challenges by leveraging novel tools, sensors, chips, interfaces, software, and actuators that are inexpensive and readily available. TCAT also educates undergraduate and graduate students about participatory design and inclusive design practices.
The Fabrication Research LabThe FabLab houses the equipment that supports these efforts: machines for additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing, sewing & embroidery, and woodworking, as well as power hand tools, soldering and rework stations, an electronics test bench, and a vacuum chamber.
- The Makeability Lab's poster about its AR captioning work earned a People's Choice Award at the Allen School's annual Research Day & Open House.
- Our 3D-printed analytics project, a collaboration between the Make4all Group and the Networks & Mobile Systems Lab, was featured in UW News, MIT Technology Review, Engadget, Silicon Republic, and Professional Engineering.
- Professor Adriana Schulz joins the Allen School, bringing expertise in computational design for manufacturing.
- The Taskar Center, in collaboration with HuskyADAPT and the non-profit PROVAIL Therapy Center, wins Ford College Community Challenge grant to expand the power of play for children of all abilities through toy adaptation.
- Spatial Recognition Techniques (SPRITEs) — developed by Allen School and CMU researchers to enable non-sighted users to access interactive web content — is featured in UW News, UPI, and this KOMO Radio story.
- Allen School amplifies its leadership in human-computer interaction and fabrication with the arrival of professors Jennifer Mankoff and Jon Froehlich.