Using Play-Doh as an interface to control digital media

Brendan Dawes is doing amazingly intriguing things. Since I like melted stuff and weird forms plus I am doing research on human-computer interaction (with sometimes a focus on kids game controllers), how could I resist to a project that aims at using Play-Doh as an interface to control digital media?

Analog control of digital devices and media has always appealed to me. Like the controllers for a PS2, they allow degrees of fuzziness in a world made of very strict ones and zeroes. Life is not black and white, so for deeper interactive experiences we need to look at control devices that allow our analog thinking brains to influence and control this digital world. Play-Doh is a fantastic analog material. It’s the total opposite of the ones and zeroes paradigm. So I took the idea of exploring Play-Doh as a fuzzy interface, looking at various ways to use this tactial, fun “interface” and use it to control digital media. In this example the amount of Play-Doh on screen dictates how fast the film plays.

As I [Brendan] twist the Play-Doh and take bits away, the film reacts accordingly in real-time. Add too much Play-Doh and the film rapidly speeds up. An intimate connection is made between the user and the media. Every action has a reaction in the digital space. No scary buttons to press. No instructions to read. It’s just Play-Doh.

Why do I blog this? because I like this crazy interface!