CS Colloquium - Cesar Torres

Event time: 
Monday, January 28, 2019 - 4:00pm
AKW 200 See map
51 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

CS Colloquium - Cesar Torres

Refreshments available at 3:45

Host: Holly Rushmeier

Title: Hybrid Aesthetics • Composing Digital and Physical Materials within Computational Design


Creative technologies like digital fabrication led to the rise of the Maker Movement, engendering grassroots innovation in education, manufacturing, and healthcare. Today, these creative technologies stand at a crossroads with what researchers and educators call the keychain syndrome, so named for the proverbial use of the flagship laser cutter. Despite a significant rise in participation, a deeper engagement with design and material is absent from traditional computer-aided design workflows further complicated by the need to work with immaterials like computation, heat, light, and electricity and materials like clay, plastic, wood, and metal. In this talk, I will motivate the need for creative technologies to support the morphogenetic model of making, a thinking and working style characteristic of how practitioners work with physical materials but difficult to access in digital design tools.

Within these tools, material simulation and modeling have typically represented the physical world in a virtual space. Across the domains of soft electronics, actuation, illumination, and jewelry making, I’ll demonstrate how such computational techniques can be enacted within physical materials, physical tools, and physical practices to support morphogenetic workflows. As a result, this work lays a framework for composing new materials and technologies to foreground the existing knowledge and practices of traditional creative practitioners and generate new forms and aesthetics that can alter the trajectory of the Maker Movement towards a new Making Renaissance.

I will conclude with my vision for how ubiquitous computing can inform the design of cyber-physical studios, ateliers, guilds, kitchens, laboratories, and makerspaces to sense the environment, augment our motor, perceptual, and cognitive abilities, and transform how creative practitioners adopt, teach, and appropriate new media practices.


César Torres is a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Hybrid Ecologies Lab advised by Eric Paulos and the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM). As a researcher, César specializes in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) synthesizing new media and craft theory into the software and hardware design of creative tangible user interfaces. He has received multiple best paper awards at top venues within HCI and been supported through the NSF and Adobe/GEM Consortium Graduate Fellowships and a Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant. He recently joined the program committee for ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), while previously serving on committees for ACM CHI and ACM TEI. He holds a B.A. in Art Practice and a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.