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Geek Cooking April 27, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in gadgets, innovative interfaces, physical interaction design.
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Again the MIT is surprising the rest of the world with an interactive cooking spoon, which makes suggestions of how to improve your cooking based on "temperature, acidity, salinity, and viscosity". Sounds like fine cuisine!

Nearly as helpful as the pan, which reads RFID-based recipes.


Interaction with mobile devices and the real world April 26, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in mobile, physical interaction design, rfid.

NFC(Near Field Communication) is how the mobile phone industry calls RFID for phones: A reader is build into the mobile phone and acts as a tag at the same time. This leads to number of use cases (Nokia) as: the hip teen can download music (Nokia) related to a movie by reading the tag on the poster. or: the craftman, who needs to read meters (Nokia). French Telecom has also a nice movie on application scenarios like paying with the phone or Location-Based Services.


Interesting is the feature that allows phones to read tags and be a tag at the same time. This reminds me of an interesting interface solution by Rekimoto at Sony's CSL: he is suggesting FEEL, a gesture-based interaction to establish communication between to networked devices. So the pairing doesn't need to be performed.


Another interesting interaction method was also developed by Rekimoto: Pick-and-Drop. With the quite natural gesture of picking screen-based objects (data) through a pen and dropping these objects on other screen-based computers an easy way of transfering data could be achieved.


Mathias Dahlström developed in his thesis at IDII a gesture-based language for sharing data (in his case: music). I particulary like his idea of sending data by making a throwing gesture towards the receiver.

Playing with Light April 19, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in exhibitions, light, making the invisible visible, physical interaction design.
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The former RCA-students Ortkrass, Wood and Koch – working together under the lable Random International – have been playing around with light for quite a while (the pixelroller in all its forms is well known to all of us): their latest devlopment – just presented at the Salone di Mobile in Milan – is a more poetic peace of art, again related to light and "leaving traces": the Pendant Lights

More on Random Internation at the Salone on one of my favorite blogs: WMMNA 

Physical Representation of Data April 13, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in information sources, making the invisible visible, physical interaction design.


DataFountain represents the value of the relative currencies Dollar, Euro and Yen through the hight of the water in the fountain. 

Physical Respresentation of Data April 13, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in innovative interfaces, making the invisible visible, physical interaction design.
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Flashbag, a nice and very orange USB-stick, which gets bigger the more data is stored on it. (Thanks to Fabian Hemmert)

Physical Game Controllers April 8, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in innovative interfaces, physical interaction design, play.
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Steering Wheel by LogiTech


Densha de Go! as one of many train games, which are very popular in Japan.

G-Con2 for Playstation (image)


Powerfishing as a representative for a long history of fishing games with physical controller.


Taiko from Namco (image


Konami's Dance Dance Revolution


A soccer game with EyeToy


KaraokeRevolution (Image from Flickr)

The Free Floating Steering Wheel. April 7, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in innovative interfaces, physical interaction design, play.
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The Floor It! race cars are controlled through a realistic free floating steering wheel. On the website is a small movie, which explains the concept well. I like it for the way you work with the steering wheel – something we all dreamt of, when we were boys… Done at the IDII

Evolution of Game Controllers April 6, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in physical interaction design, play.
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Very nice familytree of game controllers.

do it yourself media April 4, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in exhibitions, media art, physical interaction design, social computing.
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Some observations from theTAKEAWAY festival in London. Topic of this year’s festival was “DO IT YOURSELF MEDIA”, which I think is quite interesting, but which still needs more development. Or – as Armin Medosh – the opening speaker said: We need to work on the manual for DIY media. (This was based on the observation that open source only works on the following principle: “Read the fucking manual – and only then steal somebody’s time).

Karel Dudesek showed – as announced in the program – “The design of conflicts in the era of political correctness.” Karel quoted only examples from the real world, which I very much enjoyed. As the first example came from architecture – even though Karel “hates architecture”: The group SITE from NY designed a couple of projects, which are very surprising:


In this building for example, the broken corner is actually the door and slides out, when open…

Karel’s talk ended with the claim: Go There – Be There – PERSONALLY! To show, what he means by that, Karel showed some projects from his past, e.g. the “Kultur Polizei”, where they went to the documenta and arrested the director in public (actually he was quite proud to be arrested!) What a wild past…

Michael Breidenbruecker, who planned to talk on “Mainstream of Minorities”, changed his plans and talked instead about his experience building up (and selling his shares of) the company LAST FM. LAST FM is a community website based around music. Businesswise LAST FM is build on the philosophy of the “long tail” by Chris Anderson (WIRED): The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. And of course there is good money being made at the end of the tail…

So, with LAST FM Michael managed to build up such a service, which helps people finding music in this long end.

The experience Michael made were quite interesting, but even more interesting was his basic philosophy, which he was once teaching (he was Karel’s predessesor) and which he then put into reality: We are designing media, not for media!


One of LAST FM information designer, Dirk Waldik, was teaching a workshop on information mapping. He developed visualizations of the community of LAST FM and invented the term “neighborhoods” for people with similar taste. Quite interesting: he has the same academic background (Kartography) as my colleague at the FHP, Prof. Frank Heidmann. There seems to be a lot, which can be learned from maps for information visualization…Dirk shows an impressive selection of work on his website.


Talking about Information Visualization: Dr. Gernot Tscherteu is developing a tool, which shows how information is flowing through the web. He uses the blog-world to visualize the ways of information. What I found interesting in his talk, was that not only the web is mostly self-referrencial, but also our brain: for every brain-cell receiving information, there are more than 100.000 cells, which work with this information.