David A. Mellis

David A. Mellis is a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab. He has a master's in interaction design from the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (Italy) and taught at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (Denmark). David is one of the creators of Arduino, an open-source hardware and software platform for electronic prototyping.

Email: mellis@media.mit.edu. Twitter: @mellis.
Photos: flickr/mellis. Code: github/damellis.

Research
Do-It-Yourself Devices
Physical Computing
Open-Source Hardware
Digital Fabrication
Teaching

Design for DIY Manufacturing In this semester-long graduate studio course, students designed and fabricated custom electronic devices. (MIT Media Lab, Spring 2012)

Arduino & Physical Computing I've taught a variety of Arduino-based workshops, including a sci-fi inspired course at MIT and RISD, a one-week intensive at the CIID Summer School, an e-textile workshop at Columbia College, and more.

Research

Do-It-Yourself Devices

Explorations into the personal fabrication of electronic devices, including designing for individual production and variation.

DIY Cellphone: exploring the limits of DIY electronics

An exploration into the possibilities for individual construction and customization of the most ubiquitous of electronic devices, the cellphone. By creating and sharing open-source designs for the phone's circuit board and case, we hope to encourage a proliferation of personalized and diverse mobile phones. Freed from the constraints of mass production, we plan to explore diverse materials, shapes, and functions. We hope that the project will help us explore and expand the limits of do-it-yourself (DIY) practice. How close can a homemade project come to the design of a cutting-edge device? What are the economics of building a high-tech device in small quantities? Which parts are even available to individual consumers? What's required for people to customize and build their own devices?

Master's Thesis
Case studies in the digital fabrication of open-source consumer electronic products.

 
Digital fabrication allows us to treat the designs of products as a kind of source code: files that can be freely shared, modified, and produced. These case studies combine traditional electronic circuit boards and components (a mature digital fabrication process) with laser-cut or 3D printed materials. They demonstrate multiple possibilities for individual customizations both pre- and post-fabrication, as well as a variety of potential production and distribution processes and scales.

David A. Mellis. 2013. Do-it-yourself electronic products and the people who make them. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 357-358.

David A. Mellis, Case Studies in the Digital Fabrication of Open-Source Consumer Electronic Products, Master's Thesis, MIT.

David A. Mellis and Leah Buechley. 2012. Case studies in the personal fabrication of electronic products. In Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 268-277.

David A. Mellis, Dana Gordon, and Leah Buechley. 2011. Fab FM: the design, making, and modification of an open-source electronic product. In Proceedings of the fifth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (TEI '11).

Thesis Blog >>

Physical Computing

Tools and techniques for working with microcontrollers and electronics – and for integrating them with craft materials and practices.

Support for programming ATtiny microcontrollers with Arduino. (more)

Library for simple playback of audio samples with Arduino. (more)

TinyProgrammer: an easy-to-use circuit board for programming low-cost microcontrollers (more)

FabISP: a DIY circuit for programming microcontrollers. (more)

David A. Mellis, Sam Jacoby, Leah Buechley, Hannah Perner-Wilson, and Jie Qi. 2013. Microcontrollers as material: crafting circuits with paper, conductive ink, electronic components, and an "untoolkit". In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 83-90.

Leah Buechley, David Mellis, Hannah Perner-Wilson, Emily Lovell, and Bonifaz Kaufmann. Living wall: programmable wallpaper for interactive spaces. In Proceedings of the international conference on Multimedia (MM '10).

Eric Rosenbaum, Evelyn Eastmond, and David Mellis. 2010. Empowering programmability for tangibles. In Proceedings of the fourth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (TEI '10).

Mellis, D. A., Banzi, M., Cuartielles, D., and Igoe, T. 2007. Arduino: An open electronics prototyping platform. In Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing (alt.chi) (CHI’07). ACM, New York.

Co-Founder: Arduino electronics prototyping platform

Open-Source Hardware

Sharing design files for others to make and modify yields diverse ecosystems and opportunities for creativity.

David Mellis and Leah Buechley. 2012. Collaboration in open-source hardware: third-party variations on the arduino duemilanove. In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW '12).

David A. Mellis and Leah Buechley. 2011. Scaffolding Creativity with Open-Source Hardware. In Proceedings of the eighth internal conference on Creativity and Cognition 2011 (C&C '11).

Board Member: Open-Source Hardware Association

Digital Fabrication

Lego Designer: computationally generated, vinyl-cut decals for decorating Lego bricks (more)

Modular, laser-cut, press-fit wooden toy cars (more)

David Mellis, Sean Follmer, Björn Hartmann, Leah Buechley, and Mark D. Gross. 2013. FAB at CHI: digital fabrication tools, design, and community. In CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3307-3310.

Class Work: How To Make (Almost) Anything