Physical Computing

class 1: What is interaction?

Thanks to Crawford and his book The Art of Interactive Design, which helped me a lot when rethinking about interactivity. Personally, I would like to define physical interaction as  two actors listen, think and speak alternately when there is physically contact. The react has to be mutual, for there is no interaction if there is only response from one side.

With my Industrial Design background, I crave visual effect in my work. When seeing the Future Vision for the first time, I was amazed by the visual details. I couldn’t tell exactly why, however I do feel that compare with the high-tech situation they created in the video, the characters’ operation on the screen does seems a little heavy and complicated. No matter what functions to achieve, it’s all about tipping and sliding on the screen. In this way, it really isn’t that far from our real world now…right? And tech should make life easier, and require less and less thinking…right?

After reading A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design by Bret Victor, I do realize that good physical interaction should explore, aim at the dynamic medium from the body we have, to feel, see and manipulate things.

hands

John Napier’s wonderful book

As for digital technology, pictures on the laptop, films in the theater, funny videos online, they are all not interactive, no matter what you do they could not listen ,think, or talk to us back.  The lovely cat on the video online wouldn’t pur even if you try to pat her (AKA the laptop screen)  I always enjoy turning the  pages that are little roughy with my fingers (along with coffee and sunshine? )when reading  paper book, I did notice that the is a visual effect of page-turning on iBooks of IOS system, (kindle doesn’t even have this!)however the screen wouldn’t feel like actual pages for sure, and I was sliding on the screen rather than holding the paper and slowing turning over. I don’t know if that counts as an example of the not interactive digital technology, but iBook does feel less reading-like to me, as for the preconception that to read means recognizing the words on the book made of paper?

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