Physical Interfaces in the electronic arts

The following paper by Bert Bongers describes in a compact way

  • needed mindset when designing physical interfaces
  • Variety of sensors and their areas of application

I found the introduction to the paper particularly exciting, in which the author describes two approaches to a physical interface in the electronic arts:

  • Human factor: Which is basically asking the question: How does it feel?
  • Sensor categorisation: Which deals with the technical side and asks: how does it work?

In my eyes this is not only true for physical interfaces, but also for all kinds of projects where there should be an interface between humans and machines. The author also poses the question: how to deal with the total freedom of being able to design an instrument based on the human (in)capabilities instead of a traditional instrument form.

He also gives the importance of feedback for consideration. He says “interacation between a human and a system is a two way process: control and feedback”.

An interesting word is the term tactual perception: here tactile, kinaesthetic and haptic perception are combined in one word, which is a counterpart to the human output modalities, which describe the human motor function.

Based on these “human” factors, the author describes various sensors by using examples, as well as their effects and use in the electronic arts. For example the Water Pavilion in Zeeland, the Netherlands, which is an interactive building that allows the audience to interact. It was a very hands-on paper in which you could sharpen your mindset on physical interfaces and knowledge about sensors.