Sensetable + Ambient Fixtures

“Sensetable”, James Patten, Gian Antonio Pangaro, Matt Reynolds, Jason Alonso, Joseph Panganiban, Jim Hines, and Professor Hiroshi Ishii. MIT Tangible Media Group, 2001.

Years before I finished High School I came across a project that really grabbed my eye. This, along with several other projects (and the SIMPLICTY blog) became a major contributing factor to my eventual present: studying design. The Sensetable is essentially a responsive surface that tracks (electromagnetically) the position of several physical widgets. The widgets may be extended with physical controls to further effect the input provided to the system.

The demonstration video illustrates a supply chain management, using the physical controls as anchor/control points for the flow of data in the system. The demonstration uses projection for the display, and does not include facilities for a touch-responsive surface, although the joining of the senstable’s unique inputs with a touch-surface would seem a natural extension of the idea.

“Ambient Fixtures”, Andrew Dahley, Craig Wisneski, and Professor Hiroshi IshiiMIT Tangible Media Group, 1998.

Although this project’s interaction is mostly mono-directional (output-only), it represents an important earlier expression of digital information in a physical manner. It’s also interesting because, of the projects by the Tangible media group, it’s one of the first project that concentrates on ‘experience’ in a more artistic or aesthetically oriented direction.


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