Patina-inspired Personalization: Personalizing Products with Traces of Daily Use

DIS 2016, June 4–8, Brisbane, Austrailia – Paper presentation


Moon-Hwan Lee, Oosung Son, Tek-Jin Nam


Despite the popularization of product personalization systems, it is difficult for people to personalize a product in a way that symbolizes themselves and their daily lives. Borrowing the characteristics of patina generation, we suggest patina-inspired personalization as an alternative approach. This approach is a way of progressive personalization through transforming digital traces of product use into patina-like material traces on a product. As an exemplar, we developed Trace-Marker, a custom-built laser engraver for bicycle riders. It engraves aesthetic patterns on a bicycle bag according to a user’s bicycle journey. During the field trial with 10 participants for three weeks, participants used the system to add symbolic meanings, in particular their unique identities and personal stories on their bags. The permanently engraved patterns enhanced the emotional bond with the bags. Based on the field trial, we discuss implications for improving patina-inspired personalization in wider contexts.


Product personalization; patina; trace; symbolic meaning; self-expression.

ACM Classification

H.5.m. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): Miscellaneous.