Week 10: Response on Physical Computing and Interactive Art Readings

Physical Computing Greatest Hits and Misses

I agree with the author’s description in the article that when someone is learning physical computing and is required to come up with project ideas, people sometimes just eliminate most of the ideas just because they thought that it has already been done before. While there is plenty of room for variety and enhancement, it can lead to an entirely new concept. In short, I found the author’s insight firmly aligned with the concept of ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’. And I think this is an amazing realization that one must have since innovation always comes out when individuals stole the ideas that are worth stealing and left behind others that are not attractive to them and then built something that is entirely new.

Two interesting technologies that were mentioned in this article that I like the most were the Gloves and the Hand-as-cursor. The way the drum gloves are designed on the interface of the gestural language, producing discrete musical notes though simple finger taps shows the integration of force-sensing resistors and flex sensors in the Power Glove to detect movement and gestures. This idea seems to be intriguing yet complex, as it captures the challenge of translating simple, intuitive human actions. I believe the complexity is not only in the technological implementation but also in ensuring that the user experience remains interesting and simple. This technical conversation causes me to reflect critically on the balance between technology and the simplicity required for widespread user acceptance. This thinking leads me to draw parallels with the evolution of touchscreen technology, particularly its incorporation into mobile devices. Initially, touch screens were a novel technology that some saw as gimmicky; nevertheless, their design centered on natural human actions, such as swiping and tapping, which led to widespread adoption. This “intertext” identifies a vital path for me from innovation to integration, underlining the necessity of user-centered design in technology.

Despite the advances these themes represent, they raise concerns about the extent to which such interfaces can replace more traditional input modalities such as keyboards and mice, which continue to provide unrivaled precision for particular activities. This makes me wonder about the future development of glove and hand-tracking technology. Could they employ haptic feedback to provide a tangible response to digital interactions, thereby increasing user engagement and control?

Making interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then shut up and Listen

This article introduced me to a new idea that I had never considered before. Because things were never taught that way before. In any classes that I have attended up to this point that involved interactive artwork creation or even ideation, I have always felt the need to describe what my artwork is supposed to do while you are experiencing it. While I had the opportunity, I came across what I call Freestyle art projects, in which the students creating the project choose the elements, randomize them, and then hold those elements responsible for the user’s experience. This is similar to what the author is attempting to say: let the audience grasp it on their own. But I was never convinced by this approach before; I believe that if you are unable to demonstrate and let the person on the other end comprehend what you truly created, you have not done your job effectively. But I believe the author’s perspective on this has persuaded me to think otherwise when he says — ‘if you’re thinking of an interactive artwork, don’t think of it like a finished painting or sculpture. Think of it more as a performance. Your audience completes the work through what they do when they see what you’ve made.’

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