The tent as HCI

Camping in the digital wilderness: tents and flashlights as interfaces to virtual worlds by Jonathan Green, Holger Schnädelbach, Boriana Koleva, Steve Benford, Tony Pridmore, Karen Medina (CHI 2002). The paper describes a very curious project that propose the use of a projection screen in the shape of a tent in order to immerse users in a virtual world (of course based on the metaphor of camping):

"RFID aerials at its entrances sense tagged children and objects as they enter and leave. Video tracking allows multiple flashlights to be used as pointing devices. The tent is an example of a traversable interface, designed for deployment in public spaces such as museums, galleries and classrooms. on interactions that fit naturally with the tent metaphor."

Why do I blog this? what I find intriguing is the discussion about why a tent is an interesting interface:

"As an interface, the tent reflects several current concerns within HCI. First, it represents an example of a traversable interface that provides the illusion of crossing into and out of a virtual world (...) our design tries to meet some of the challenges of designing interfaces for public spaces. For example, studies of interactive exhibits in museums show how passers-by learn by watching others interact. The two- sided nature of the tent provides those outside with a public rendition of the activity that is happening inside, but at the same time maintains a relatively protected and isolated environment for those inside."