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Abstract

Physical Computing is a new research field in which our world of everyday objects and places becomes infused and augmented with information processing and exchange. The advocates of this notion demonstrate that physical objects have a sensory richness of meaning that screen-based elements do not. When we see, hear and feel real-world objects we are enabled to train both cognitive and perceptual skills in combination. Such objects can help us create interfaces that are easier and more fun to use. In this paper I clarify the notion of Physical Computing in relation to previous paradigms in order to investigate the sequence of the evolution that lead this development. After outlining the criteria I believe are essential for such a system and building an experimental prototype that combines these criteria, I explore if indeed the people’s experience by those artefacts is coherent and engaging. These experiments suggest that Physical Computing applications have a great impact not only on people but also on the surrounding space. Malcolm McCullough’s concept of how these systems are overlapping with architecture provides a useful framework for interpreting these results.

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