Speaker: Hiroshi Ishii, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: Defy Gravity: Beyond Tangible Bits, Towards Radical Atoms
Our vision-driven design research is carried out through an artistic approach. Whereas today's mainstream Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research addresses functional concerns – the needs of users, practical applications, and usability evaluation – Tangible Bits and Radical Atoms are driven by the vision. This is because today's technologies will become obsolete in one year, and today's applications will be replaced in 10 years, but true visions – we believe – can last longer than 100 years.
Tangible Bits seeks to realize seamless interfaces between humans, digital information, and the physical environment by giving physical form to digital information, making bits directly manipulable and perceptible. Our goal is to invent new design media for artistic expression as well as for scientific analysis, taking advantage of the richness of human senses and skills – as developed through our lifetime of interaction with the physical world – as well as the computational reflection enabled by real-time sensing and digital feedback.
Radical Atoms takes a leap beyond Tangible Bits by assuming a hypothetical generation of materials that can change form and appearance dynamically, becoming as reconfigurable as pixels on a screen. Radical Atoms is the future material that can transform its’ shape, conform to constraints, and inform the users of their affordances. Radical Atoms is a vision for the future of human-material interaction, in which all digital information has a physical manifestation so that we can interact directly with it.
I will present the trajectory of our vision-driven design research from Tangible Bits towards Radical Atoms, and a variety of interaction design projects that were presented and exhibited in Media Arts, Design, and Science communities.
Hiroshi Ishii is a Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab. He was named Associate Director at the Media Lab in May 2008. He is co-director of the Things That Think (TTT) consortium and director of the Tangible Media Group. He founded and currently directs the Tangible Media Group pursuing a new vision of Human Computer Interaction (HCI): "Tangible Bits." His team seeks to change the "painted bits" of GUIs to "Tangible Bits" by giving physical form to digital information.
Prof. Ishii and his team have presented their vision of "Tangible Bits" and "Radical Atoms" at a variety of academic, industrial design, and artistic venues (including ACM SIGCHI, ACM SIGGRAPH, Industrial Design Society of America, AIGA, Ars Electronica, Centre Pompidou, and Victoria and Albert Museum,) emphasizing that the development of tangible interfaces requires the rigors of both scientific and artistic review. A display of many of the group's projects took place at the NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo in the summer of 2000. The following year, a three-year-long exhibition titled "Get in Touch" featured the Tangible Media group's work at Ars Electronica Center (Linz, Austria) from September 2001 through August 2004. Prof. Ishii was elected to CHI Academy by ACM SIGCHI in 2006.
Prior to joining the MIT Media Lab from 1988-1994, Prof. Ishii led a CSCW research group at NTT Human Interface Laboratories Japan, where his team invented TeamWorkStation and ClearBoard. Prof. Ishii was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Canada from 1993-1994. He has also received several degrees in engineering, including a B.E. degree in electronic engineering, M.E. and Ph.D degrees in computer engineering from Hokkaido University, Japan, in 1978, 1980, and 1992, respectively.