Prototyping electronic circuits is an increasingly popular activity, supported by researchers, who develop toolkits to improve the design, debugging, and fabrication of electronics. Although past work mainly dealt with circuit topology, in this paper we propose a system for determining or tuning the values of the circuit components. Based on the results of a formative study with seventeen makers, we designed VirtualComponent, a mixed-reality tool that allows users to digitally place electronic components on a real breadboard, tune their values in software, and see these changes applied to the physical circuit in real-time. VirtualComponent is composed of a set of plug-and-play modules containing banks of components, and a custom breadboard managing the connections and components’ values. Through demonstrations and the results of an informal study with twelve makers, we show that VirtualComponent is easy to use and allows users to test components’ value configurations with little effort.
Yoonji Kim, Youngkyung Choi, Hyein Lee, Geehyuk Lee, Andrea Bianchi. 2019. VirtualComponent: a Mixed-Reality Tool for Designing and Tuning Breadboarded Circuits. To appear in Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘19).