Just stumbled upon this fascinating new computer interface via the World Reviewer (AKA James Dunford Wood) tweet. Well worth watching the video. In a nutshell, it’s a way of manipulating and accessing information unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen.
MIT graduate David Merrill demonstrates at the TED2009 conference in the US this month a set of small biscuit-sized squares of sesitive digital screen he has developed, which interact with one another. They could look from a distance like building blocks, but slimmer. The idea is that you can grab, shuffle, tip and co-locate a group of ‘Siftables‘ to allow you to manipulate information. For example, you could pour on-screen digital ‘paint’ from one screen to another to mix a new colour. It gets more complicated than too. They can do math(s), play music, and create narratives too.
They are based on premise that spacial resoning is how we make sense of a lot of the world around us, says brainy Merrill.
I can see great potential for this in an educational setting as a learning tool and possibly for people who find it hard to manipulate a mouse due to a disability, but otherwise I’d be interested to see if this catches on and who it catches on with. If I anyone buys it to distribute on a large commercial scale, I’ll blog it.