A cord, although simple in form, has many interesting physical affordances that make it powerful as an input device. Not only can a length of cord be grasped in different locations, but also pulled, twisted and bent—four distinct and expressive dimensions that could potentially act in concert. Such an input mechanism could be readily integrated into headphones, backpacks, and clothing. Once grasped in the hand, a cord can be used in an eyes-free manner to control mobile devices, which often feature small screens and cramped buttons. For this project, we implemented a proof-of-concept cord-based sensor, which senses three of the four input dimensions proposed.
The idea from this research project came about during a discussion with my to-be advisor Scott Hudson at the PhD visit weekend. However, the project was largely performed within my first 4 weeks of grad school amidst orientation activities, coursework, and getting settled in a new city. It was quite an adventure!