"A way to change everything is to build a completely new HMI. The new HMI will be exhilarating, beautiful, and capable, a complement and compliment to people. Just as surely as we do it will occupy real-world space, because that’s where the action is and because it will need to pay special heed to hands and what they’re up to. It will be characterized, like living things, by dynamism, by motion elegant and allusive and comic. It will make the pixels it inhabits — projected and barnacled, singular and teeming, sessile and itinerant — it will make these brazenly heterogeneous pixels interoperable: at once incidental and indispensable. This new HMI will embody a conviction that design, that fundamental human activity, is its as well. And it will infect everything built atop it with the same sentiment. The resulting world might well be one we like. So let’s see."
"Curious Displays" functions simultaneously as a form of design research and as a speculative proposal for a new product, a future display technology.
The project explores our relationship with devices and technology by examining the multi-dimensionality of communication and the complexity of social behavior and interaction. In its essence, the project functions as a piece of design fiction, considering the fluctuating nature of our present engagement with media technology and providing futurist imaginings of other ways of being.
Curious Displays (2009) is a product proposal for a new platform for display technology. Instead of a fixed form factor screen, the display surface is instead broken up into hundreds of ½ inch display blocks. Each block operates independently as a self-contained unit, and has full mobility, allowing movement across any physical surface. The blocks operate independently of one another, but are aware of their position and role relative to the rest of the system. With this awareness, the blocks are able to coordinate with the other blocks to reconfigure their positioning to form larger display surfaces and forms depending on purpose and function. In this way, the blocks become a physical embodiment of digital media, and act as a vehicle for the physical manifestation of what typically exists only in the virtual space of the screen.
Traditionally, displays are fixed-size/ratio surfaces that provide an entry point to a defined experience with digital media content. This content is varied--informational, filmic, auditory, at times even spatial. However, the relationship between the user and the digital entities within the defined surface of the screen creates a sense of fragmentation between two distinct spaces. The virtual space of the screen provides a surface for media content to come alive, but is a distinct and marked separation from the physical space that the user occupies.
Curious Display "blocks" are tangible and tactile. They occupy and move through physical space, and are thus subject to the same spatial rules and limitations faced by any other physical objects. These constraints lend themselves to potentially interesting outcomes in terms of interactivity and negotiation. An abundance of questions quickly begin to surface--how do they move? How do they behave? Does this movement and behavior begin to allude to the development of a type of personality? How does one communicate with them? Where do they go when you're not using them? What role do they take on in our daily lives?