Between the virtual and the physical

The International Journal of Design Computing has a special Issue on the Space Between the Physical and the Virtual.

This special issue contains research which navigates the territory between the real and virtual world through metaphor, cognitive model, data stream and a designer's synergy. (...) In this volume of IJDC we attempted to solicit and select papers that explore that overlapping boundary between the physical and the virtual. In particular, we looked for research that contemplated the role of the subject user versus the machine automaton. The first paper from Maher, Gero, Smith, and Gu's utilizes agents that sense their environment and react accordingly. What is of particular interest is in how those artificial agents responded to users who inhabit their world. The Heylighen and Segers' DYNAMO article considers the synergy a designer develops between many forms of media and data, analog and digital. The system again works in partnership with the user predicting their design goals and suggesting appropriate case studies. In the Bermudez cyberPRINT, a dancer interacts with the virtual manifestation of his physiological data. The performance aims to closely couple the human physical condition and the virtual condition such that, eventually, the boundaries between them are blurred. The article from Fischer and Fischer appropriates a morphogenetic biologic model to digital form finding. The human, in this case acts as a director shaping and nudging largely independent virtual actors. It is in the lack of complete control that we find such systems intriguing. Their apparent independence gives the illusion of (or perhaps some may say illustrates) intelligence and purpose.