Posts Tagged ‘Physical Computing’


January 7, 2009

Over the past few days we have been collecting examples of work we like and can take inspiration from…

A great presentation giving examples on ubiquitous technology and personal informatics.

0aabypullg“Ticker Tape is an internet radio for people who suffer from Euphobia, “a persistent, abnormal and unwanted fear of hearing good news.  Using RSS feeds, Ticker Tape scans for light-hearted news stories from around the world broadcasting them to the listener” Via Design Corner


5f_somo2_hands_lores“Social Mobiles is an exploration into mobile phone behavior. Rather than create a set of phones that addressed aesthetic concerns of mobile phones, designer and artist Crispin Jones worked as a research associate with IDEO to create five working mobile telephones that in different ways modify their users’ behavior to make it less disruptive. The intent is to provoke discussion about the social impact of mobile phones” Via Ideo

barometer“The Local Barometer seeks to provide people with a sense of the sociocultural texture around their homes. Information is culled from the web depending on the local wind direction and speed, so that want-ads, news items, or images seem to waft through the home, displayed on purpose-designed small-screen displays designed to appear as a new sort of appliance for the home” Via Goldsmiths

key_table“The Key Table gets a sense of people’s emotions from the way they dump their stuff onto it. Much as slamming doors is a crude measure of mental state, so the table uses the transient onset of a new weight to gauge mood. Reactions to emotional entrances are triggered as mechanised frames swing pictures off-center to warn other inhabitants to tread carefully” via Equator website

image06“large scale visualisation of the energy used in Helsinki, Finland, by projecting a laserbeam on the exhaust of a power station” Via

Also a great quote to by Alexander Manu’s ToolToys:

“The… urge to handle goods is an important learning experience. As in play, tactile
feedback increases the impact of the learning”


Behond the Desktop:Networking the Everyday

January 5, 2009


taken from designing Interactions

Today at CIID we started our tangible user interface project! All i can say is that we have a very exciting and busy four weeks ahead of us!

For the four weeks Heather Martin will be running the course with some fantastic quests including Durrell Bishop, Christopher Scales and David Cuartielles coming to teach and critique us! and of course we will also have the fantastic CIID staff too!

Today we were given an overview of tangible user interfaces and shown great examples. Some of these included the  work of interaction designers like Bill Gaver that worked on the equator project……

“The IRC brought together researchers from eight different institutions and a variety of disciplines which address the technical, social and design issues in the development of new inter-relationships between the physical and digital.

A series of experience projects engaged with different user communities to develop new combinations of physical and digital worlds and explore how these may be exploited and how these may enhance the quality of everyday life.”


“The History Tablecloth is designed to cover a kitchen or dining room table. When objects are left on the table, the cloth starts to glow beneath them, creating a halo that expands very slowly. When items are removed, the glow fades quickly”  (

After these brilliant lectures, we were  given our brief…..which can be summarized as:

Design a pair or series of networked objects that illustrate digital information in a physical form. The objects must be manipulable by your specific user group and enable people to interact directly with data through your objects.Your concepts  can be of any scale but your final concept must be  physically interactive, contain no screen or display and be produced as a fully working prototype. The solutions must show appropriate use of technology but that are also beautiful and well crafted objects which are useful, pragmatic and make sense to our users-whilst being simple and delightful to use (from course syllabus)

The brief has been left fairly open so we can focus on specific areas of personal interest and manage our project ourselves, however there are key areas we must consider and during these project….These are… tangible Computing, tangible user interfaces (TUI), physical computing, pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, prototyping, product design, affordances, metaphors, simplicity, sensors and networks.

For this project we are working in pairs with people that compliment our own strengths, which i feel is a great opportunity to work in a team where we can really push each other, and learn from each other. I am working with Adam who has a back ground in web design and digital multimedia.  We are both super excited about the project and the opportunities that can be discovered, so i am sure something positive will happen as well as all the other great ideas from the rest of the class!

For this project the final working prototype is very important, but we will also be assesed on out process and documentation, so as always i will try and blog as much a possible 🙂

and before i end.

A big HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone, i wish you all the best for 2009!

Physical Computing

November 4, 2008

For the last two weeks we have been doing a physical computing course taught by Massimo Banzi, Dave Mellis and Gwendolyn Floyd. During the first week were predominantly taught by Massimo on how to use Arduino

“Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments”

For our last week of physical computing we were set a week long brief to put into practice all we had learned from our exercises taught on the Arduino platform. The brief was set by Gwendolyn Floyd who was also teaching us alongside Massimo and Dave.

The brief was as follows:

Home automation and the internet of things enable our intelligent objects to silently communicate
amongst themselves at faster and higher degrees of autonomy. This requires less and less interaction
and relationship with the user. These trends also create and depend on cycles of replacement and
upgrading, leading to the rapid discarding of old objects. Our project will challenge these behaviors of
passivity and obsolescence by exploring and adapting the cultural, physical, and psychological user
interfaces that reside in the objects we have given up on or replaced. How can new interactions with
and between our old objects create more meaningful, engaging, and thoughtful relationships with
contemporary situations, needs, and desires?

As more and more behaviors and interactions get packed into smaller and smarter objects, what are
the physical gestures and interactions we threw away with “outdated” technology that could add logic,
humanity, and meaning to our daily lives or specific situations.

Please find old objects and re-imagine their functionality: the way they interact with either another object, other objects, people, or the computer in new and relevant ways

For the week we worked in groups to come up with a solution to the brief and make a working prototype of our ideas to exhibit.  I personally loved the week and was hugely inspired by the brief and by the people that i was working with in my group.

Our idea was…….

‘Rock is the new Swivel’




photos by Ashwin and Tobias

One of the chief goals of technology has been to make tasks more efficient and as a result save time. But this has only meant an increased pace of life, as we try harder to pack more into less time and effort.
The swivel chair is a classic ‘efficiency technology’ that has left aching backs and stress in its wake. In this prototype, we seek to introduce a powerful antidote into the domain dominated by the swivel. We emphasize how ‘rock’, an interaction thats all but disappeared from the modern ‘sitting’ context, can be a mantra to soothe frayed nerves, and at the same time serve up a widely appreciated need, thanks to networked digital technology.

The theme we worked with is: ‘Guerilla free time – how can technology, which has been designed to heighten our efficiency and productivity facilitate break time, helpful laziness, etc.

Via this prototype, the everyday mundane act of fetching coffee during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a break, listen to some music, and simply chill. 🙂

Over all the mini exhibition we had was really brilliant. It was amazing to see what everyone had achieved in such a short space of time as well as getting some really productive feedback from our external visitors one of whom was Bill Verplank and of course our wonderful CIID staff!

Some links to more photos of the exhibition…….

Tobias’s and Alie’s flickr!!