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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Jasper Mallinson

wearable cnc machine
close up of cable robot

Mecha-morphis explores the concept of ‘augmented makers’ – the reimagining of digital fabrication technologies (technologies that control tools through computers) to augment, rather than replace, human making abilities.

Seeking to fuse computer control with human control, I turned myself into a six-axis CNC machine – arguably the most universally capable digital fabrication technology today. A novel cable robot was designed to sit between a human hand and common tools, such as routers, drills or welding torches.

Despite human movement, the six axes of control, when combined with real-time position sensing, can correct both the tool’s position and orientation to achieve superhuman precision. Commands layered on top of this correction can control movements and work from 3D models. As the machine is wearable, it facilitates fabrication at almost any scale, from drilling circuit boards to welding super-structures. However, varying degrees of human influence can be maintained by adjusting the control relinquished to the computer.

From complete human control to complete computer control; across tools, across scales and across data sources – as a platform, Mecha-morphis unlocks richer spectrums of fabrication. By exploring these spectrums, the future augmented maker can discover new ways of working that surpass the existing limitations of both digital and human fabricator.

profile photo of Jasper

I come from a background in design engineering, with personal roots in 'nuts and bolts making' – working at a younger age in roles across metal fabrication and carpentry. In the years before joining the Innovation Design Engineering programme (IDE), I was working in the world of tech start-ups. Here I developed drones for humanitarian landmine clearance in the Netherlands before joining a team in Oxford developing microfluidic blood testing devices.

My current work focuses on regenerative design and digital fabrication. This includes using eco-acoustics to tackle agricultural soil degradation, modelling the natural shrinkage of fresh wood for use as a computational design tool, and developing a wearable robotic device that gives humans the capabilities of digital fabrication machines. 

I believe empathy, open mindedness, and a drive to connect with other humans and the planet are all crucial to generate design outputs constructive to our future. Perhaps most importantly then, IDE has exposed me to a melting pot of disciplines, cultures and personalities that continue to challenge and expand my creative boundaries.

Royal Comission for the Exhibition of 1851