Physical Computing Project CIID 2011

When trying to understand the digital world it is inevitable that the concept of the transmission of information becomes a foundation to explaining the present, connected world we live in. Yet, not many people understand how data is actually sent from one digital device to another.

Experiencing Fiber-Optics is an interactive display that tries to simply convey the concept of data transmission through a fiber-optic cable. The interaction starts with three distinct blocks, representing different types of data, which are inserted into the input device to activate a single transmission of bits. The data travels through a three dimensional representation of the inside of a fiber-optic cable until it reaches the output device and is displayed as a 2D light square. Transporting three data "shapes" at once represents the concept of being able to transfer large amounts of different types of information, while the three dimensional data "zeppelin" (designed to illustrate the effect of looking at a fiber-optic cable under a microscope) represents the concept of data travelling as pulses of light bouncing through the cable.

As a team we worked to fuse a core interaction concept with an engaging visual aesthetic as we felt that the classic educational representation of a fiber-optic cable felt static and uninspiring. We hope that this project not only helps to explain fiber-optics but also do so in a visual, tangible way.


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