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This new approach takes a thorough look into the Computer itself, and develops a more tight connection with it which works vice-versa.

Hiroshi Ishii [1997] from the Tangible Media Group of the MIT Media Lab claims that the interaction with Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) is separated from the ordinary physical environment within which we live and interact. Indeed the interaction between people and the machine is now largely confined to traditional GUI – screens based on desks with computers that have evolved in an office environment in which we sit on chairs, move our fingers, entering and receiving information censored by our conscious minds. Physical Computing pours out beyond the screen, into our places, under our laws of physics, embedded in our devices - everywhere. [McCullough, 2004]

Under this trend information technology contexts are no longer valued for immersiveness so much as for “periphery”. Interface design experts emphasize the term locus3 of attention. Unfortunately our attention ability remains finite while the number and complexity of tools continues to increase and to overload our screen’s workspace. In response, most agendas of physical computing share a belief in “periphery”. As defined by Mark Weiser and John Seeley Brown [1996], from the open research centre Xerox PARC, “periphery is background that is outside focal attention but which can quickly be given that attention when necessary.” This is one way to deal with information overload. Trying to keep too much in the locus of attention tends to be stressful. We find it more natural to use our considerable powers of sensing the surroundings, and then to experience more capacity and resolution where our attention is focused. Thus as Weiser and Brown [1996] have observed, bringing something back from the periphery to the centre of attention is a fundamentally engaging and calming process.


A centre or focus of great activity or intense concentration [source: http://dictionary.com/]

Physical Computing:

Using Everyday Objects as Communication tools


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