Physical Computing Session 1

Here we are reflecting on the first session of Physical Computing, and I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised. I was expecting us to jump right into Hello World on the Arduino and make an LED blink but the class session was more just talking about why are we here. Why does physical computing matter, and what do those words “Physical Computing” even mean? For me it’s as simple as a form of interaction with a user and a piece of technology that is not primarily driven by a screen.

Why is this important? Well at absolute base level because we have devoted these two years to new forms of interaction. The easiest way to create a “new form of interaction” would be to take an existing screen based paradigm and translate it into a physical one. So first some questions on interaction that we should pose to ourselves.

  • Are we looking for giant leaps? Or looking for incremental development
  • What ethical concerns do we have to consider when building physical interfaces?
  • As Creative Technologists how do we determine that our technology is actually physically safe for people to use?
  • Why has the Adruino been so successful?

Future of Interaction Design

I really enjoyed a Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design because it pokes holes at what people consider the future to be. I think it’s a really interesting idea to think about how we went from thinking that in 2010 we would have flying hoverboards and garbage powered cars a la Back to the Future 2 to now thinking that in 20 years from now things will look relatively similar.

I agreed with a lot of the criticism brought up in the article but there was something about that video that bothered me. It was a VERY positive view on what the future can be. We are already seeing the dangers of putting all of our trust and data in the hands of a few firms. When the technology we use is literally intertwined with our bodies how can we trust the “ethics” are going to come into play when designing for the future. This is the future that I usually predict we’ll be in.

With that in mind how do we determine

  • How is the technology we build morally good?
  • How are we trying to improve or enhance our users life with this technology
  • What limitations in the hardware we are using today do we need to get past?
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