Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble Équipe Ingénierie de l'Interaction Homme-Machine

Équipe Ingénierie de l'Interaction

Internship: Design Exploration of Reversible Bio-Based Inflating Mechanisms


Inflation is a powerful way to actuate shape-changes of flat surfaces [1, 2]. However, the common actuation mechanism needs external air pumps and valves, which take extra space and prevent the interfaces from being mobile. A chemically actuated inflation method was proposed [3] to overcome this problem, but it is not reversible, and the inflated object cannot go back to the initial flat state.

In this research project, we explore bio-based inflating mechanisms that allow the inflated object to go back to the initial state. Bacteria such as algae and yeast create a certain amount of air during their proliferation. We can adjust the amount of air created by the bacteria by adjusting their environment, and control the inflation of an object. We envision that it will be a sustainable way to implement shape-changing objects, such as wearable hat or window blinds.

Research Question

What is the optimal way to use bacteria to implement inflating objects? The research focuses on exploring bacteria, gene editing (if needed), making the environment to maximize and minimize the bacteria’s air emission, and the applications of the objects.

Required Skills and Experiences

Objective of the Internship

During the internship, the student is expected to:

For all these steps, previous work, material and experience from both supervisors will help to get a start and improve the student’s work.


Please send your CV and academic transcript to We will restart reviewing the applications mid-December, and you can apply until the position is filled.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Hyunyoung Kim
Ph.D. Candidate, CNRS
Laboratoire d’Informatique de Grenoble

Céline Coutrix
CNRS Researcher
Laboratoire d’Informatique de Grenoble


[1] Yao, Lining, et al. "PneUI: pneumatically actuated soft composite materials for shape changing interfaces." Proceedings of the 26th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology. ACM, 2013. Video, Paper.

[2] Ou, Jifei, et al. "aeroMorph-heat-sealing inflatable shape-change materials for interaction design." Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. ACM, 2016. Video, Paper.

[3] Chemical Inflation for Assisted Assembly, Penelope Eugenia Webb, Paper.

Ce travail s'effectuera dans le cadre du projet PhyFlex.


Hyunyoung Kim, Céline Coutrix