Monday, 6 October 2014

Example: Collaboration and play

Research for the Anticipating Change project.

The Never-Ending Drawing Machine - MIT Media Center: Source

Researchers in the MIT Media Center have created a form of interactive storytelling with a tangible side.  The Never-Ending Drawing Machine (NEDM) uses webcams and projectors to allow users to collaborate over a cloud network on physical notebooks.  One user can write, draw or make a collage on a page of the notebook which can be streamed and projected on to a second notebook in a different location.  This allows users to collaborate in an intuitive, traditional manner (ie. turning the pages of a book) while communicating long distance with a partner.

The technology behind this gadget is actually fairly basic, but the concept of having a digital medium mapped on to an analogue one that can be interacted with is more remarkable.  This intuitive physical interface can be used by anyone, even if they have no computer knowledge, as it relies on tangible objects that we all encounter in day-to-day life.  As digital technology plays a larger role in our lives it's interesting to see the virtual space being adapted so we can interact with it in a physical, more intuitive way.