Friday, April 03, 2009

Interactive Innovations and Design Spaces

Quite often I am surprised by some new form of interactive artifact, with a technology, form, or function that I have not been able to forsee or imagine. For instance, today I saw the Moixa Sphere. It is not the thing in itself, even though the Sphere is fascinating, that is the most interesting aspect of this new artifact, instead it is that when I see the Sphere, I can imagine a whole new space of possible interactive artifacts, functions, uses, etc. The design space increases.

But, even though I am easily fascinated by new technology, when I see these new innovations my reaction is usually the same. I am surprised and fascinated by the technology and the new design space, but quite disappointed with the function or application that is used to introduce the technology. This is a consequence of the fact that the innovative design is technology driven and not neccesarily human centered. But, what I have learned over the years is that the worst mistake is to dismiss a new innovation as useless based on the application instead of focusing on the potential design space that the technology is opening up. To be able to see and imagine new potential design spaces is a crucial skill of being a good interaction designer! So, what design space do you see when you look at the Moixa Sphere?


Edgar said...


I just started a blog about interactions too and my first post was exactly about these new kinds of interactions.
I also don´t know if these new forms of interactions are also superior to the ones we currently have. But I found it extremely interesting to study and analyse them.
MIT developed a new technology called siftables. Maybe you could take a look at them. It´s in my blog.

Rishi.SB said...

Erik, I had the same design template for my blog. I switched to WP though ;)

You bring up an interesting point about how designers should not be dismissive about technological innovations. The flip side of it is that it also pays to be a skeptic. Of course, I am not talking of thwarting visions, I am talking about critique when I say "skeptic". Questions like "why would anyone use it", "how might it enrich lives" etc need to be asked.

I am working in a technology innovation group and I can see how easy it is for people to get swayed by the new cool. I hope to provide the reality check!

Coming to the topic of the sphere, I think it could be very additive interaction. But a lot of it depends on the materials used and if it doubles up as a stress buster ;). Introduces new gestural paradigms like "bounce", "squeeze", "catch", "throw", "roll" etc. Exciting!

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