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July 27, 2008

Sketching in Hardware Day 3: David Merrill

The manipulative is the message

embodied media
the narrowing of experience through windows-mouse interface
how can computers leverage our physical-world skills in a way that is generalizable


  • using existing physical gestures: tilting, swirling, pouring, moving closer

  • sense physical motion

  • display color graphics

  • sense neighbors in close proximity

  • communicate wirelessly with a computer: standalone or interface to a desktop

software: programming a distributed system

  • distributed code/algorithms: robust, enables emergent behavior - but difficult to author complex coordinated bheavior

  • centralized control: easier to author, but can be brittle

  • so siftables combines both

software: events

  • both single events (in a single siftable) and topology changes (a cluster of units, like pouring color from one to another)

interaction paradigm: embodied media rather than "physical cursor"

Sensor Network User Interfaces

  • irst idea: interface to a sensor network

  • but can we create an interface from a sensor network - so that interaction with nodes creates interface?

  • sensor networks are just barely becoming usable, but lots of opportunity for them

  • self-contained/powered mobile nodes! coordinated behavior!

  • lots of architecture problems are being solved - graceful degredation, localization, code change

the problem: how do we lower the barrier to entry?

  • what is the Flash for sensor network infrastructure? what is the Arduino for sensor network infrastructure?

  • Sun SPOTS, SquidBee, XBee


  • dead-simple mesh networking

  • foundation: discovery, position, action,

  • higher-level: global, distributed behaviors, easily see what is talking to what -- discoverability

Posted by egoodman at July 27, 2008 10:13 AM


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