Visual representation of tangible interaction

A nice approach to communicate multimodal streams originating from devices.
Tufte would be pround.

The representation of sound and vibration uses waveforms, showing amplitude over time. Although this is quite limited, it seems to be a useful shorthand for communicating a small range of tangible feedback.

via Visual representation of tangible interaction.

Design methodologies in RFID

I will definitely look into this paper on designing location-aware everyday objects by Martinussen and Arnall

that just fall onto my desk from pasta and vinegar. I always wondered what can be seriously made with a thing that small and simple in it’s capabilities such as is RFID. Especially the design methodologies as p&v points out are quite interesting.

Designing with RFID by Einar Sneve Martinussen and Timo Arnall is an highly interesting read if you’re into alternative visions to the internet of things. Based on what the authors call “a practice-driven design approach“, through sketching, making and form-explorations, they explore the possibilities for richer design of RFID products in everyday contexts.

However, I was even more interested by the design methodologies proposed in the paper. The way the articulate different techniques, such as sketching, modeling, form exploration or evaluation, is original and curious. What is relevant to me is the clear definition of a purpose (”to gain a rich working knowledge of the kinds of design qualities that RFID objects may embody“) and the way they proposed different investigation phases: [...]

[From Original design thinking approach to RFID research via Pasta & Vinegar]

Abstract of the paper

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless technology that is emerging in consumer products as a method for input and interaction. Although RFID is relatively well known from a technical perspective, the methods for designing with RFID are less well understood, particularly the tangible and physical aspects of RFID form. Using a practice-driven design approach we explore the possibilities for richer design of RFID products in everyday contexts. Through sketching, making and formexplorations we build a visual and physical design vocabulary for RFID forms. This includes properties such as direction, balance, ergonomics and geometry that are communicated through designfocused language and visualisations.


	Address = {New York, NY, USA},
	Author = {Martinussen, Einar Sneve and Arnall, Timo},
	Booktitle = {TEI '09: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction},
	Pages = {343--350},
	Publisher = {ACM},
	Title = {Designing with RFID},
	Year = {2009}

Soldering a Mutitouch Surface

[Together with René]


A catch-all term for all those aspects of a sound not included in pitch and duration. Of no value to the sound composer!

[Trevor Wishart: Audible design – A Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Sound Composition, Glossary]

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word cloud

A word cloud for SuperCollider3 on osX regarding all open documents excluding this one and the post window.
The Picture shows the research part of my supercollider wiki.

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On haptic Symbols

cuboro Recently I bought me a cuboro standard marble track consisting out of 54 wooden cubes with several holes. They provide 12 different functionalities, e.g. bends, straights, level.-changes, etc.

These haptic modules build some kind of basis for possible marble tracks which can be build.
After a while of happily building different tracks and testing what is possible (and what not) I discovered that although the cubes do not have any haptic connections, such as lego or fisher-technik blocks do have – they have to be put together in the right way to build a valid (read working) marble track.

A Scenario

Take three cubes and place them on your desk like this:

marble track

now, flip the whole aggregate by 90 degree; it seems to be still a valid Marble track.
cubes flipped cubes flipped, view 2 Apart from the fact that the marble will not run through it anymore. At least part number 9 (where the marble is placed on in the last images) seems to be odd having its newly defined input at the wrong position (and with a non-runnable curvature inside). Apart from this, also this flipped track is not usable in a bigger marble track scenario; the connection points are on the wrong places.
What makes me wonder is that it still feel or looks right.
Being not usable in a way is useful – restrictions force creativity – however, the way the limitations in this example are conciliated just feels to be wrong. I think that is, because of the cubes do not haptically inform or forbid to put them together flipped (in contradiction to other brick-building toys). Here it is easy to do things wrong, since it simply does not run correctly in the end.
Having “only” 12 different sorts of cubes available soon makes one feel a bit too limited. Result: at least six months not really using and building tracks.

By experimenting with the cuboro setup I discovered that it is possible to define something perhaps named haptic symbols. Using the language means to combine symbols (wooden cubes) to sentences (tracks) and speak (run a marble in the track). As in other languages, it is nearly impossible to abuse the grounding symbols and still have a valid sentence.

On my birthday some of my friends (many thanx to you all!) made me a birthday present by giving to me a cuboro extension pack (the metro box containing 24 additional cubes with 12 additional functions to the standard set). Yuppie! Having the number of available (known?) symbols doubled means at least the possibility to square the complexity of sentences to speak. Now I speak a lot again.

[ cuboro home ]

Extending Paper

Dsc00186-Converted Yesterday, a colleague was counting gestures in a spreadsheet. I wondered about these little post-its; she answered that the field was already filled with ticks, so she had to extend it in a way… looks a bit like hand-made memory extensions. I really like this idea.
Think on trying this with a computer. Of course you may just extent the length of the column, or just type the number of counted items, but it would not feel the same anymore.
Using numbers is uncomfortable, since our symbols for numbers are, well a bit too symbolic. You cannot change, say 7 to 8 with simply adding a tick or something.
Using ticks and extending the cell may turns the table into something unreadable. In the physical representation (read paper with post-it-addons) you still have the feeling of mass when having multiple paper add-ons layered onto each other.

Juggling Sounds

Es war, und es war gut. Allerdings auch etwas anstrengend, aber es hat viel Spass gemacht. Im Augenblick arbeite ich an dem aufgenommenen Videomaterial, und werde demnächst Ausschnitte im Netz veröffentlichen. Bis dahin noch einmal vielen Dank an alle, die diese Veranstaltung möglich gemacht haben, insbesondere an das SonEnvir-Team.
Img 6038 Img 6058 Img 6067
[Pics by TB, CF, CF]

(Danke fürs Bildermachen, Christopher)


A nice work by Nicolas Villar at the Embedded Interactive Systems, Lancaster University UK:
VoodooIO. Basically it is on designing User Interfaces build by knobs, sliders and other one-finger stuff on an conductive fabric. The project evolved out of the Pin&Play project which provides the one-pin technology to communicate with the computer.
The result is as WmMnA says “[...] a bit like you have this home entertainment system and instead of using a giant remote control you just pin a few buttons into your couch to control it.”

[image by VoodooIO]

It’s a bit like having all the modular controls as they appear in my JInT classes[1] as hardware pins.

[via WmMnA]
[1] which I introduced at the SuperCollider Symposium, 2006, Birmingham

Terrain of Information, MUI and Sonic Finder

A nice work on using haptics in HCI called Terrain of information is shown at Interaction-Ivrea.
A mouse-like interface attached with a convertable surface is used to navigate through a (for now faked) apple Finder window. Each direktory hovered over with the “mouse” is represented by a bump on the surface. It’s size directly corresponds to the size of the hovered directory.

[image from We make money not art ]

This reminds me of two earlier works:

  • A work done at Bielefeld University in the iLab by Matthias Milczynski et al. called A malleable device with applications to sonification-based data exploration or in short MUI [ abstract and sound examples | paper ]
  • The Sonic Finder by William Gaver, an extension/replacement to the Finder as found in MacOS. Information like the size of the selected directory are presented to the user by an auditory feedback.

MUI in action
[image from the MUI as it appears in the paper]

[ Terrain of information via We make money not art | Interaction-Ivrea ]

Tangible Data Container

Mit Tangible Interfaces bezeichnet man physikalische Repräsentationen und deren Manipulation von digitalen Daten. Meistens handelt es sich bei solchen Interfaces um Tische und Objekte auf den Tischen, auf die dann vielleicht noch projiziert wird.
Wenn es um Informationsvermittlung geht, gibt es jedoch auch mindestens zwei von Tischen unabhängige Designstudien:

Der USB flash bag zeigt durch seine Dicke an wieviel Speicher schon belegt ist. [via infosthetics]

InSync ist eine Designstudie über eine (Backup-)Festplatte, die anzeigt wie stark ihr inhalt mit dem zu sichernden übereinstimmt. Je mehr sie verdreht ist, desto weniger Übereinstimmungen existieren. [via infosthetics &]

Meiner Ansicht nach besteht der Charme der beiden Studien darin, dass in beiden Fällen haptische Eigenschaften, also die im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes erfassbare Geometrie in direktem Zusammenhang zu den enthaltenen Informationen steht. Es gibt keinerlei komplizierte Interpretation, alles ist haptisch erfahrbar, und wenn man die Gegenstände nicht fassen kann, ist der visuelle Sinn auch in der Lage dem Nutzer einen Überblick über den inneren Zustand des Objektes zu verschaffen.
Redundanz rockt.

Gibt es noch weitere Tangible Data Container? Schreibt mir links in meine comments…