"Defy Gravity: The Art of Tangible Bits"
by: Hiroshi Ishii
Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
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.
I will present the trajectory of our vision-driven research and a variety of interaction design projects that were presented and exhibited in Media Arts, Design, and Science communities including: ICC, Ars Electronica, Centre Pompidou, Victoria and Albert Museum, Venice Biennale, ArtFutura, IDSA, ICSID, AIGA, ACM CHI, SIGGRAPH, UIST, CSCW.
Hiroshi Ishii 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 a new vision of Human Computer Interaction (HCI): "Tangible Bits." His team seeks to change the "painted bits" of GUIs to "tangible bits" by giving physical form to digital information.
Prof. Ishii and his team have presented their vision of "Tangible Bits" at a variety of academic, industrial design, and artistic venues (including ACM SIGCHI, ACM SIGGRAPH, Industrial Design Society of America, AIGA, Ars Electronica, Centre Pompidou, and Victoria and Albert Museum,) emphasizing that the development of tangible interfaces 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.