01.tangible examples [James Liu]

1. Siftables

Siftables Equation Editor from Jeevan Kalanithi.

Designed originally at the MIT Media Lab by David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi, Siftables is now in the process of productizing this tangible computing platform. Like many of the examples shown in class, Siftables is a system of “bite-sized” tablet computers capable of motion sensing, neighbor detection, graphical display, and wireless communication. Users are able to shuffle, stack, and relay the tablets for interactive gaming and learning purposes. The link above shows one game play example: an equation builder that help teach children concepts in mathematics.

What makes them great? Having a display on each tablet greatly expands the possibilities for interactivity. Instead of having specific parts (such as different sized lego blocks), the uniformity in terms of hardware makes the platform cheaper to reproduce and easier to upgrade. However, the set of possible ways of interaction are restricted to visual cues.

What makes them examples of tangible interaction? Interaction does involve the physical movement of the tablets—however that would also make my Mouse tangible interaction under that definition. Siftables’s ability for sensing motion as well as neighbors are what I believe key components for the system. Tangible interaction involves a certain awareness of the context in which it is used.


Sniff from karolina sobecka.

Sniff is a public installation project designed by Karoline Sobecka and Jim George. The installation is a projection of a dog at a storefront window that can interpret the gestures and movement of bystanders. The dog will try to build a relationship with a viewer and try go get the attention of people passing by. Consisting of a projector and camera tracking system (IR Camear), this installation is simple in concept and execution but surprisingly moving.

What makes them great? The concept of the project is really fascinating. People tend to have a stronger affinity for animals more so than strangers on the street. This virtual dog is capable to illicitness emotions from participants while viewers conversely project responsiveness and other behaviors to it.  The visual design of the dog—an amorphous resembles of a dog really—really creates an ethereal experience.

What makes them examples of tangible interaction? The interaction with the system is relatively straight forward. However the interactions themselves are not to the system, but the dog itself. The system interprets the gestures as ‘aggressive’ or ‘inviting’… this is a good example of tangible interaction because it abstracts away the computing all together.


~ by jamescmliu on January 13, 2010.

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