The Art of Tangible Bits

  Hiroshi Ishii   Hiroshi Ishii , MIT Media Lab

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 30, 2008

Our vision of Tangible Bits is carried out through an artistic approach. Whereas today's mainstream Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Design research address functional concerns – the needs of users, practical applications, and usability evaluation – Tangible Bits is a vision driven by concepts.  This is because today's technologies will become obsolete in one year, and today's applications will be replaced in 10 years, but true visions – we believe – can last longer than 100 years.

Tangible Bits seeks to realize seamless interfaces between humans, digital information, and the physical environment by giving physical form to digital information, making bits directly manipulable and perceptible.  Our goal is to invent new design media for artistic expression as well as for scientific analysis, taking advantage of the richness of human senses and skills – as developed through our lifetime of interaction with the physical world – as well as the computational reflection enabled by real-time sensing and digital feedback.

Tangible Bits is an artistic vision that seeks to transform the way we see and interact with the world. I will present examples of Tangible Bits projects that were at once inspired by Art and are inspiring artists. They were presented and exhibited in Media Arts, Design, and Science communities including ICC, Ars Electronica, Centre Pompidou, Victoria and Albert Museum, Venice Biennale, ArtFutula, IDSA, ICSID, AIGA, ACM CHI, SIGGRAPH, UIST, CSCW.

Hiroshi Ishii founded the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab in the end of 1995.He is a co-director of Things That Think (TTT) consortium and a project leader of Digital Life (DL) consortium at the MIT Media Lab. He has done extensive research on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). His team at NTT Human Interface Laboratories invented TeamWorkStation and ClearBoard. He has been active in a variety of academic, industrial design, and media art communities including ACM SIGCHI, SIGGRAPH, IDSA, and Ars Electronica.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.