Tangible and Embedded Interaction

From toys to collaborative work, boardgames to augmented surfaces, the conference TEI 2009 that takes place now in Cambridge UK presents all the latest trends in the domain of tangible interfaces and physical computing. Tom Igoe gave a great keynote this morning about the importance of DownCycling and reusing existing electronic devices with new purposes, like the REWARE project of Hans Christoph Steiner at Eyebeam in Nyc. He talked as well of the PlantR project that uses cellphones to probes soils in order to know what kind of plants can grow at your home, a mobile phone version of EasyBloom.

The second keynote was given by Ayah Bdeir, an artist from Lebanon previously in CompCulture group at the Media Lab. Her works in the domain of wearables technologies present different level of critical works around identity, sexuality and hacking. One of her last project, LittleBits presents a toolkits to use electronics as materials. These magnetically connected boards are intended to be used by designers and artists to create rapidly prototypes of interactive devices.

And the last keynote, very inspirational was Durell Bishop, product designer and inventor of fantastic physical interaction paradigms in the early 90’s. Bishop created the marble answering machine, that inspired Spielberg for Minority Report precog information tokens. He is also the creator of one of the first system for tangible video editing.