M | I | C / A '09 Undergrad Thesis

Winner of the Stempel Thesis Prize Award: Annual scholarship awarded to one MICA senior who exhibits exemplary work on their senior thesis. Funded by MICA alumnus Mark Stemplel '90.

The problem: Our digital world is disconnected from a tangible human perspective

We are approaching the point where the physical and digital environment are coming closer together to create a uniquely hybrid experience. The amalgamation of the two would result in a more tangible digital experience extended throughout our spatial environment.

The digital atmosphere today is primarily one that is static and rigid. It is viewed, rather than experienced, through the 2D lens of Graphic User Interfaces.

Its limitation to these dimensions is what I believe to be the primary barrier that keeps the digital world at such a human disconnect. I question the possibilities for dramatically unique user to computer interfaces that would blend more seamlessly with our everyday life.

The space in which we live is dynamic. Our actions and intentions are contextual. As humans we are naturally prone to be on the go and interacting with the world around us. Conversely, the current state of technology (generally) has us pinned within the static human-computer dialogue of user to screen.

The alternative to the Graphic User Interface is a Tangible User Interface. As ‘smart’ objects such as mobile phones become more ubiquitous, and their capabilities expanded, their roles as our extensions into the digital landscape become more apparent. With this in mind, the goal now is to design a system in which our mobile phones would become wireless facilitators for more physical tools, rather than just a window into our digital world.

Solution: Re-innovation of the digital pen as a ubiquitous tangible input device

Imagine writing, or even just gesturing "email: don xavier - hey how’s your thesis going?" and having that message sent instantly. I imagine this pen as an accessory to our mobile phones, synced wirelessly with access to information such as our address book, to-dos, etc.

In the days where technology seems like pure magic, the pen then becomes a wand..

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