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Abstract

TRANSFORM: Beyond Pixels, Towards Radical Atoms

Whereas today’s mainstream Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research addresses functional concerns – the needs of users, practical applications, and usability evaluation – Tangible Bits and Radical Atoms are driven by vision. This is because today’s technologies will become obsolete in one year, and today’s applications will be replaced in 10 years, but true visions – we believe – can last longer than 100 years. Tangible Bits seeks to realize seamless interfaces between humans, digital information, and the physical environment by giving physical form to digital information, making bits directly manipulable and perceptible. Our goal is to invent new design media for artistic expression as well as for scientific analysis, taking advantage of the richness of human senses and skills – as developed through our lifetime of interaction with the physical world – as well as the computational reflection enabled by real-time sensing and digital feedback.

Radical Atoms takes a leap beyond Tangible Bits by assuming a hypothetical generation of materials that can change form and properties dynamically, becoming as reconfigurable as pixels on a screen. Radical Atoms is the future material that can transform its shape, conform to constraints, and inform the users of their affordances. Radical Atoms is a vision for the future of human-material interaction, in which all digital information has a physical manifestation so that we can interact directly with it.

I will present the trajectory of our vision-driven design research from Tangible Bits towards Radical Atoms, and a variety of interaction design projects that were presented and exhibited in Media Arts, Design, and Science communities.

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