Making Digital Tangible: The Battle Against the Pixel Empire
Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
1 Rogers St, Cambridge, MA 02142
Today’s mainstream Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research primarily addresses functional concerns – the needs of users, practical applications, and usability evaluation. Tangible Bits and Radical Atoms are driven by vision and carried out with an artistic approach. While today’s technologies will become obsolete in one year, and today’s applications will be replaced in 10 years, 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 and computation, making bits directly manipulatable and perceptible both in the foreground and background of our consciousness (peripheral awareness). 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 we develop throughout our lifetime interacting with the physical world, as well as the computational reflection enabled by real-time sensing and digital feedback.
Radical Atoms leaps 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, thus enabling us to interact directly with it.
I will present the trajectory of our vision-driven design research from Tangible Bits towards Radical Atoms, illustrated through a variety of interaction design projects that have been presented and exhibited in Media Arts, Design, and Science communities. These emphasize that the design for engaging and inspiring tangible interactions requires the rigor of both scientific and artistic review, encapsulated by my motto, “Be Artistic and Analytic. Be Poetic and Pragmatic.”
Hiroshi Ishii is the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Laboratory. After joining the Media Lab in October 1995, he founded the Tangible Media Group to make digital tangible by giving physical form to digital information and computation. Here, he pursues his visions of Tangible Bits (1997) and Radical Atoms (2012) that will transcend the Painted Bits of GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces), the current dominant paradigm of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction).
Read more about Hiroshi Ishii at https://tangible.media.mit.edu/person/hiroshi-ishii/.
- 6:30 – 7:00 Networking over pizza and beverages
- 7:00 – 8:30 Meeting
- 8:30 – 9:00 CHI Dessert and more networking