My Interactive Jacket
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
While designing software is our bread and butter, ultimately we are in the interface trade. More specifically, we produce computer-human interfaces. At first, the computer hardware that housed our software creations was solely the personal computer. Now, we (and our interface-designing colleagues) are now designing computer-human interfaces for new hardwares – for example, we're in-production with an application for the iPhone and are looking at ways to best configure textbooks for the Amazon Kindle.
But aside from these recently popular cyborgian devices, what other compelling emergent hardware might we be designing for? As I've blogged here in the past, I personally can't wait to design for a wider application of epaper.
The folks at Lunar Design are conceiving interactive clothing constructed from an epaper-like material. Soon, interface designers and fashion designers will be sharing studio space…
The fashion universe has been putting holographic technology to use as well. This holographic Kate Moss is breathtaking (although I keep expecting her to lean over and say “Help me Obi Wan Kenobe, you're my only hope!”) and the implications for the fine arts and cinema are readily apparent.
What might be some more utilitarian applications? Certainly, the educational world could benefit from this – imagine your e-textbooks coming
with accurate holographic maps of the moon. Nice.
Then there's MIT's 'Siftables' – little blocks that have a video display and audio capabilities. The creators of siftables describe them thusly:
Siftables are cookie-sized computers with motion sensing, neighbor detection, graphical display, and wireless communication. They act in concert to form a single interface: users physically manipulate them – piling, grouping, sorting – to interact with digital information and media. Siftables provides a new platform on which to implement tangible, visual and mobile applications.
Something about this is intriguing, but I don't know what, exactly. It is cool and obviously could make a great toy or game, but I sense there's a wider application I'm just not getting. Watch this video and reply if you have any ideas…
One thing I am certain of – I'm looking forward to designing an interface for
a siftable-generated holographic teaching tool while wearing my interactive jacket.