TRANSFORM: Beyond Tangible Bits, Towards Radical Atoms
Whereas today's mainstream Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research addresses functional concerns – the needs of users, practical applications, and usability evaluation Tangible Bits and Radical Atoms
are driven by vision. 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.
Radical Atoms takes a leap beyond Tangible Bits by assuming a hypothetical generation of materials that can change form and properties dynamically, becoming as reconfigurable
as pixels on a screen. Radical Atoms is the future material that can transform it's shape, conform to constraints, and inform the users of their affordances. Radical Atoms is a vision for the future of human-material interaction, in which all digital
information has a physical manifestation so that we can interact directly with it.
I will present the trajectory of our vision-driven design research
from Tangible Bits towards Radical Atoms, and a variety of interaction design projects that were presented and exhibited in Media Arts, Design, and Science communities.
is a Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the
MIT Media Lab
. He was named Associate Director at the Media Lab in May 2008. He is co-director of the Things That Think (TTT) consortium and director of the
Tangible Media Group
. He founded and currently directs the Tangible Media Group pursuing new visions of Human Computer Interaction (HCI):
"Tangible Bits” and "Radical Atoms.”
Prof. Ishii and his team have presented their vision of "Tangible Bits" and "Radical Atoms" at
a variety of academic, industrial design, and artistic venues (including ACM SIGCHI, ACM SIGGRAPH, Cannes Lions Festival, Aspen Ideas Festival, Industrial Design Society of America, AIGA, Ars Electronica, Centre Pompidou, and Victoria and Albert Museum,) emphasizing
that the development of vision requires the rigors of both scientific and artistic review. A display of many of the group's projects took place at the NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo in the summer of 2000. The following year, a three-year-long
exhibition titled "Get in Touch" featured the Tangible Media group's work at Ars Electronica Center (Linz, Austria) from September 2001 through August 2004. Prof. Ishii was elected to CHI Academy by ACM SIGCHI in 2006.
Prior to joining the MIT Media Lab from 1988-1994, Prof. Ishii led a CSCW research group at NTT
Human Interface Laboratories Japan, where his team invented TeamWorkStation and ClearBoard. Prof. Ishii was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Canada from 1993-1994. He has also received several degrees in engineering, including
a B.E. degree in electronic engineering, M.E. and Ph.D degrees in computer engineering from Hokkaido University, Japan, in 1978, 1980, and 1992, respectively.