Touch and TEI
We wish all talented architects and designers could attend the futuristic, under-the-radar computer conference called Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interactions. This ten-year old conference takes computers into the realm of fit, feel and function. A Panafold contingent flew to Tempe, Arizona to cover it for you.
Kinetic, tactile “display.”
Say you were given the challenge to redesign Tesla’s interior and no-button paradigm yet maintain its minimal aesthetic. Test case?
Drive on a rutted dirt road.
As the car bumps along, open the suspension screen, hit the “Very High” button to raise the suspension.
Now? Close to impossible. On a bumpy road, just try to locate and accurately press the right series of onscreen buttons.
Imagine instead that the screen could deform so that “Suspension” tab and “Very High” buttons emerged out of the surface of the screen. You could feel and press them. Or, imagine a map with raised topological information or better yet, your route foregrounded. And physical buttons could get over-the-air updates — the best of both digital and mechanical worlds.
Fabric, the future version.
Now, imagine a textile with a memory of being pushed or buffeted by a heavy wind. Technology could make us aware of how we are physically supporting and supported by other objects and environmental forces. Prof. Laura Devendorf, of The Unstable Design Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder’s ATLAS Institute, sees garments as interesting, active participants in daily life. Devendorf showed a first prototype of a ‘force-fabric’. Last year at TEI Stockholm, Atlas was one of the interesting TEI participants showing moveable, tangible buttons and sliders.
The tactile helps the human being. Just as good interior design must go beyond “Instagrammable,’ so must our relationship to the computational go beyond looking at glass screens.
Provocative technology at TEI related to actively deformable materials in product creation, tactile feedback through smart material with actuators (of special interest was FRANK and its expressive robotic materials from Eindhoven University of Technology as well as MIT’s work on deformable materials from the Medialab). Together, these are ways to think about how to improve on current interior and automotive design.
* The opening keynote at TEI was given by BATYA FRIEDMAN on Value Sensitive Design, an approach to the design of technology that accounts for human values. https://vsdesign.org/publications/pdf/non-scan-vsd-and-information-systems.pdf
Please come by Panafold for a visit: https://panafold.co/contact