Thijs Roumen

Reuse for Digital Fabrication

3D printing is amazing technology in that it gives the modeller the freedom to model each and every detail of an object by him/herself. There is no more need to follow industrial standards and protocols when we develop our models. This creative freedom is beautiful, but also leads to a vast reduction of reusability of models. As a consequence we constantly reinvent the wheel when it comes to engineering clevers embedded in these models.

Take a bicycle as a simple machine. It consists of elementary parts like a chain drive, pedals, a steering mechanism, wheels, gears etc etc. I want to develop tools so in the future non-mechanical experts can model machines like that and invent new, more advanced machines. Rather than remodelling each gear separately, it makes more sense to think of the bike as a series of mechanisms that are linked together. By using functional mechanisms as primitives for modelling we can guarantee that functionality is maintained while the user has the freedom to link the mechanisms to one another as he/she wishes. My vision is that we can move towards a world in which 3D models are built upon the shared knowledge and experience of the community, rather than that of the modeller. As a consequence I believe we will see a wide variety of more functional objects being 3D printed and hopefully we as a creative community can start tackling larger mechanical problems using this amazing technology.

Papers at CHI/UIST

[5] Mobile Fabrication

Thijs Roumen, Bastian Kruck , Tobias Duerschmid , Tobias Nack and Patrick Baudisch

In Proceedings of UIST '16, .

We explore the future of fabrication, in particular the vision of mobile fabrication, which we define as “personal fabrication on the go”. We explore this vision with two surveys, two simple hardware prototypes, matching custom apps that provide users with access to a solution database, custom fabrication processes we designed specifically for these devices, and a user study conducted in situ on metro trains. Our findings suggest that mobile fabrication is a compelling next direction for personal fabrication. From our experience with the prototypes we derive the hardware requirements to make mobile fabrication technically feasible.

paper video talk recording acm DL

[4] Linespace a sensemaking platform for the blind

Saiganesh Swaminathan , Thijs Roumen, Robert Kovacs , David Stangl , Stefanie Mueller and Patrick Baudisch

In Proceedings of CHI '16

For visually impaired users, making sense of spatial information is difficult as they have to scan and memorize content before being able to analyze it. Even worse, any update to the displayed content invalidates their spatial memory, which can force them to manually rescan the entire display. Making display contents persist, we argue, is thus the highest priority in designing a sensemaking system for the visually impaired. We present a tactile display system designed with this goal in mind. The foundation of our system is a large tactile display (140x100cm, 23x larger than Hyperbraille), which we achieve by using a 3D printer to print raised lines of filament. The system’s software then uses the large space to minimize screen updates. Instead of panning and zooming, for example, our system creates additional views, leaving display contents intact and thus preserving user’s spatial memory

paper video talk recording acm DL

[3] Turkdeck: Physical virtual reality based on people

Lung-Pan Chen, Thijs Roumen, Hannes Rantzsch , Sven Köhler, Patrick Schmidt, Robert Kovacs, Johannes Jasper, Jonas Kemper and Patrick Baudisch

In Proceedings of UIST '15

TurkDeck is an immersive virtual reality system that reproduces not only what users see and hear, but also what users feel. TurkDeck allows creating arbitrarily large virtual worlds in finite space and using a finite set of physical props. The key idea behind TurkDeck is that it creates these physical representations on the fly by making a group of human workers present and operate the props only when and where the user can actually reach them. TurkDeck manages these so-called “human actuators” by displaying visual instructions that tell the human actuators when and where to place props and how to actuate them.

paper video recording of talk acm DL

[2] NotiRing: A Comparative Study of Notification Channels for Wearable Interactive Rings

Thijs Roumen, Simon Perrault and Shengdong Zhao

In Proceedings of CHI '15

We conducted an empirical investigation of wearable interactive rings on the noticeability of four instantaneous notification channels (light, vibration, sound, poke) and a channel with gradually increased temperature (thermal) during five levels of physical activity (laying down, sitting, standing, walking, and running). Results showed that vibration was the most reliable and fastest channel to convey notification, followed by poke and sound which shared similar noticeability. The noticeability of these three channels was not affected by the level of physical activity. The other two channels, light and thermal, were less noticeable and were affected by the level of physical activity. Our post-experimental survey indicates that while noticeability has a significant influence on user preference, each channel has its own unique advantages that make it suitable for different notification scenarios.

paper video recording of talk acm DL

[1] OmniVib: Towards Cross-body Spatiotemporal Vibrotactile Notifications for Mobile Phones

Jessalyn Alvina, Simon Perrault , Thijs Roumen , Shengdong Zhao , Maryam Azh and Morten Fjeld

In Proceedings of CHI '15

In this paper, we investigate how users perceive spatiotemporal vibrotactile patterns on the arm, palm, thigh, and waist. Results of the first two experiments indicate that precise recognition of either position or orientation is difficult across multiple body parts. Nonetheless, users were able to distinguish whether two vibration pulses were from the same location when played in quick succession. Based on this finding, we designed eight spatiotemporal vibrotactile patterns and evaluated them in two additional experiments.

paper video recording of talk acm DL

Volunteering at CHI/UIST

UIST2018 Local Arrangements Chair
CHI2016 Associate Chair for LBW


  • CHI 18,17,16,15
  • UIST 17,16,15
  • and other conferences

Special Recongitions for Reviews:

  • [7] CHI 2016
  • [6] CHI 2016
  • [5] CSCW 2015
  • [4] CHI Play 2015
  • [3] CHI 2015
  • [2] CHI 2015
  • [1] CHI Play 2014