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Flex-it: Exploring emotional expression through elasticity in digital manufacturing

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This research investigates the potential of structural flexibility as a functional and affective design element as well as its potential applications. Our research bridges the areas of jewellery design, emotion design and structural development in the Additive Manufacture (AM) of metals. The article offers a theoretical review of the nature of flexible structures and of current deformable AM geometries and their applications. In relation to this, we conducted a series of practical experiments, which explored AM flexible geometries to create emotional expression. Both, existing examples and the outcomes of the experiments were evaluated against the soma-semiotic framework of emotional expression developed by Niedderer. The outcome and contribution of the research is a better understanding of structural geometries of flexibility and their potential uses, as well as of its affective potential.
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Keywords: Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS); elasticity; emotional expression; flexibility; jewellery design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: De Montfort University, UK 2: University of Wolverhampton, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.

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