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Category: interaction design

Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)

There are certain project themes that recur every year in physical computing classes. Many of them are ideas that lend themselves to multiple interesting variations, and are valuable ways to learn about physical interaction through doing. Others don’t offer only limited interactive possibilities, but capture the popular imagination because they’re simple and quite often pretty to look at. What follows is a review of some of the themes I see frequently. These are by no means the only themes that come up, nor are they the only things you can do with physical computing. Many physical computing projects feature two or more of these themes.

Sometimes when people learning about physical computing hear that a particular idea has been done before, they give up on it, because they think it’s not original. What’s great about the themes that follow here is that they allow a lot of room for originality. Despite their perennial recurrence, they offer surprises each time they come up. So if you’re new to physical computing and thinking to yourself “I don’t want do to that, it’s already done,” stop thinking that way! There’s a lot you can add to these themes through your variation on them.

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Wordle is awesome. I want a poster of this.Thanks, Clay for the link.

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Geoff Smith sent this link to SenseSurface. It seems like a neat idea, but I wonder about it. For one thing, I wish they’d show…

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Ignite NYC

I’m going to be talking at Ignite NYC coming up, thanks to Brady Forrest. Should be fun. There are some other good talks planned for…

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Graham Pullin

Régine Debatty’s interview with Graham Pullin on WMMNA is a good read. I like what I know of Graham’s work a lot, and I love…

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Greener Gadgets

A few people have asked what I thought of the Greener Gadgets conference. The short answer is: had a good time, glad I went, it…

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Shaping Things

Bruce Sterling’s take on a plausible future in which everything made has a network address, and therefore a documented and documentable history. He takes this vision to its extreme, showing how it changes everything from design to manufacturing to consumption to disposal of material goods.

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Openmoko First Run

A few notes:It took me an hour and a half to flash the root file system and kernel on it…. The operating system takes longer to load than OSX 10.4 on my macbook.There are a couple things about the UI that bother me: It’s not obvious how to answer or hang up a callThere’s no obvious way to access system settings through the UIIt’s apparently not yet possible to send or get text messages.I hope it gets better.

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