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String-based Interfaces July 14, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in innovative interfaces, making the invisible visible, mobile, physical interaction design.

A string is a nice way to represent a 1-dimensional set of data through length.


This alarm clock by Duck Young Kong is set by pulling a string; the length of the string is representing the time remaining until the alarm goes off. This is interesting, because here input and feedback are done through the same media – the string. I am wondering why the designer did not add some kind of scale to the string so that reading becomes easier (in an earlier post I am describing a system, which does this).


The string has also been one of the earliest expamles for Ambient Interfaces: the LiveWire by Natalie Jeremijenko. In her case, she not using the lenght to communicate information, but the activity of the wire: the more the wire dangles, the more net work traffic is happening in the building in this moment. (image by Marek Plichta)

An interface based on a rectractable string was recently presented by Gabor Blasko et.al.: in this case not only the length of the pulled string is used to receive information, but also the angle in a polar coordinate system. Additionally Blasko is adding LEDs to the string to create a “1-D-display”. Scenarios of how to work with this interface include mail reading and calendar checking.
(images are courtesy of Gabor Blasko)



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