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experience. If we follow McCullough’s [1996] claim, about the way some people perceive the computer as its input and output devices alone - as if the screen is actually the computer, we could assume that what the user can actually learn and understand through a physical computing device are some basic features of computation.

As mentioned before one of the subjects felt proud, being able to reply to the message I had sent her. This fact can be related to what Jim Campbell says about the “real interactivity” that takes place between the viewer and himself and not between the viewer and the interactive work. HAL enabled the subjects to attach feelings to its flashing LEDs. I think to the subject’s mind, and probably mine too, LEDs never cease to be just “lamps”. The feature that they were able to manipulate those lamps to whatever they wanted is the key to their experience.



The availability and the ease of the new means of communication such as, the electronic mail, text messages or MSN messenger12 have showed that they are often used just to transfer emotional states between friends, family members etc. Probably that’s why the use of emoticons in these kinds of messages is so popular. Emoticons are based on the inclusion of sensory information for the meaning to become something more than the apparent words or symbols. The use of HAL as a medium of communication is actually based on this phenomenon; the viewers decipher the light signals and convey them into emotions. However, the physical nature of HAL actually augments these messages and makes them background information in one’s ambient environment.

12 MSN Messenger is Microsoft's instant messaging client for Windows computers aimed toward the home user. Among its users it is often referred to as MSN, for example, "I'll send it to you over MSN."[source: Wikipedia].

Physical Computing:

Using Everyday Objects as Communication tools


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