At shape lab, we are excited to share our passion for research, human-centered design, and engineering with a broader audience through outreach and mentorship activities. In the past, we have held lab tours, workshops, and demos in the broader Bay Area community. If you would like to request an event with shape lab or learn more, you may contact us at:

As part of one of our outreach efforts, we have created a class on automata that teaches fundamental concepts in rapid prototyping, mechanical design, and storytelling. This class is geared towards K-12 students and the material can be adapted accrodingly. Check out materials from our class here.

Banner with three images. Image 1 shows a group of middle school students and shape lab members holding prototypes of their work. Imge 2 shows a demo of a research project at the Exploratorium. Image 3 shows student working on prototypes and graduate students helping.

Past Outreach Events

Exploratorium After Dark: Tactile - Demonstrations and Talk

Every Thursday night, the Exploratorium holds the After Dark event where people come to the museum in the evening for themed interactive exhibits. We were invited to come and brought along three demos from our lab that showed different aspects of touch including a shape-shifting haptic display, visio-haptic VR illusion, and tabletop swarm robots. Additionally, Prof. Sean Follmer gave a talk on embodied engagement in the virtual world with a focus on haptic technologies.

the shape shift pin display is on the left of the image and on the right a computer screen displays the environment that can be felt on the device

one person in a VR headset reaches out to touch a box while several others observe on a large screen what the user is seeing in VR

four people around a table interacting with a small swarm of robots

prof. follmer stands at a podium with arm extended to describe slides on the shape display, below people in the audience are watching

demos, tactile, exploratorium

Stanford Splash 2019 - Stories in Motion

Splash is a program that brings students in grades 8-12 from everywhere to Stanford’s campus for a two-day learning extravaganza. We ran a class titled Stories in Motion: Mechanical Automata and Rapid Prototyping on design automata.

picture group of shape lab members and students that participated in the class holding their final automata prototypes in front of the shape lab building.

splash students visiting Stanford with shape lab students showing their completed automata prototypes

Students working in a table and assembling their designs laser cut in plywood.

Room with a screen slide that reads 'Stories in Motion' and a big table with several prototyping materials scattered around.

shape lab classroom ready

splash, workshop, class, stanford

Stanford Undergraduate Lab Tours with GradSWE

We hosted shape lab tour and demos for 16 Stanford undergraduates interested in learning more about what research in engineering looks like. This event was coordinated with the GradSWE Stanford chapter.

students gathered around a desk watching a monitor as a graduate student explains her research.

Students gathered around a graduate student holding a demonstration of his research project.

GradSWE, tours, stanford

Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Web4All 2019 Hackathon

Tayo and Alexa demoed two research projects at the 2019 Web4All Hackathon organised by the DIAGRAM Center and PEAT (Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology): 1) shapeCAD, an accessible 3D modelling for people who are blind and visually impaired that used a 2.5D tactile shape display to provide interactive tactile feedback. 2) Tactile Code Skimmer, a device that represents lines of code physically with the goal of improving skimming through code. Both projects were presented at ASSETS 2019.

Read more about the exciting hackathon projects and outcomes here

People gathered around a shape display and a computer.

GAAD, accessibility, demos

SeeME 2019 - Automata Design

SeeME is a program meant to introduce students to mechanical engineering topics. During a single day, high school and middle school students take multiple classes to learn about engineering. We ran a class that focused on prototyping techinques through the creation of automata.

picture of a group of students looking at wooden supplies layed out on a table that they gathered to build their mechanisms

One lab member helping a student figure out how to assemble their automata

two students working side-by-side to add final touches to their automata

seeME, workshop, class, stanford