Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer-Human Interaction (Tai-Chi)

Today I had lunch with Alain Guisan/Crevoisier, artistic director of art company b-polar and Myiuki Warabiushi his girlfriend, a japanese dancer. What he does in his art company seems really appealing, I will certainly visit their workspace. Besides, Alain is working on a European project: Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer-Human Interaction (Tai-Chi):

This project explores how physical objects, augmented surfaces and spaces can be transformed into tangible-acoustic embodiments of natural seamless unrestricted interfaces. The ultimate goal is to design Tangible Acoustic Interfaces (TAI) that employ physical objects and space as media to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical worlds and to make information accessible through large size touchable objects as well as through ambient media.

The method that will be developed is based on the principle that interacting with a physical object modifies its surface acoustic patterns, due for instance to the generation of acoustic vibrations (passive method) or the absorption of acoustic energy (active method) at the points of contact. By visualising and characterising such acoustic patterns, it will be possible to transform almost anything (for example, a wall, window, table top or arbitrary 3D object) into an interactive interface (a giant flat or 3D touch screen), opening up new modes of computer-user interaction for responsive environments. Because of their numerous advantages over other methods, including the spatial freedom they provide to the user, the robustness with which they can be constructed and the ease of accommodating multiple users simultaneously, acoustics-based interfaces will become a major sensing paradigm in the future, implying enormous potential for the whole computer and information industry.

Why do I blog this? I still have to see what emerged from this tangible interaction projects, it seems very compelling. On a different note, we exchanged interesting ideas with Alain about a potential non-for profit research lab (about user experience and interactive stuff), which is a recurrent idea lately with some folks around Geneva :)

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