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there is only a need for his/her senses. It’s about computational activity in which we interact with directly. MR might give an integrated view of digital information but Physical Computing gives physical form to it. So, if we consider that VR needs immersive technology to be displayed and MR needs technology that integrates the digital and the physical, what does physical computing need? The answer to that question is embedded information processing which will be explained in the next section.


The Embedded Information Processing Revolution

Today less than a quarter of chips produced by Intel, the largest manufacturer, are put into desktop or laptop computer motherboards. The rest are embedded into things that we use, carry, drive or wear. Since 1994, microprocessors have outnumbered humans on the Earth. As of 2002, for each person in the United States, there existed a Microelectromechanical System (MEMS) chip, which is an essential component in physical-digital interfaces. Technology visionary Mark Weiser [1993] defined ubiquitous computing as “hundreds of computers per person”. When the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest membership organization of information technology researchers, launched a general-readership publication named Ubiquity, and called its plenary conference “After Cyberspace”, the paradigm-shift become more or less official. [McCullough, 2004 – p.5]

Steve Sanghi [1996] the president of Microchip Technology Inc. mentions the embedded information processing revolution and he wants us to keep in mind that embedded means hidden, or buried. The above revolution is hidden inside the products we use every day; such as a car security system that immobilizes a car when an unauthorized entry happens.

Physical Computing:

Using Everyday Objects as Communication tools

Fig. 11 A microcontroller [source: http://n1vg.net/opentracker/images/chip- large.jpg]

Fig. 12 Major trends in computing (after Mark Weiser) [source: McCullough,2004]


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