Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits, and Atoms

Hiroshi Ishii, MIT Media Lab

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 2, 1997


We live between two worlds: our physical environment and cyberspace. "Tangible Bits " is an attempt to bridge the gap between theses two worlds by developing ways to make bits (digital information) accessible throughb physical surfaces, everyday objects, and ambient media such as light, sound, airflows. The goal of Tangible Bits is to change the "painted bits" of GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) to "tangible bits" taking advantage of the richness of multimodal human senses and skills developed through our lifetime of interaction with the physical world. Tangible Bits explores seamless interfaces between people, digital information, and everyday physical environments. In this talk, Ishii will discuss the conceptual framework of Tangible Bits and introduce working prototypes of Tangible Bits, metaDESK and ambientROOM.


Hiroshi Ishii is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences in the Media Laboratory. He directs Tangible Media Group at the Media Lab, and is a project leader for the Lab's Things That Think consortium. Ishii has spent the majority of his professional career at NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation) Human Interface Laboratories where his research team designed TeamWorkStation and ClearBoard--pioneering collaboration media that provide seamless, shared workspace across distances. Ishii has also been visiting professor at the University of Toronto's Computer Systems Research Institute, and visiting researcher at the German National Research Center for Computer Science in Bonn. He received his BS, MS, and Ph. D degrees in computer engineering from Hokkaido University.

He is currently a member of the editorial board of ACM TOCHI (Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction). He also serves as a program committee member and chair of many international conferences, including ACM CSCW, ECSCW, ACM CHI, ACM MULTIMEDIA, ACM COOCS.


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

For more information about HCI at Stanford see

Overview Degrees Courses Research Faculty FAQ