This project is an earlier experiment with touchable interfaces, a model further explored in Venus Villosa. The main idea was to combine physical computing and interactive typography. My goal was to design a system that will emphasize the physicality of the interactive experience, bridging the gap between the visual field rendered on the screen and the tactile sensor on the user’s hand.

I sculpted and molded three different objects, sized to fit in the user’s hands and poured in a soft resin product. The shapes and textures of the different interfaces are intended to entice the user to rub and squeeze the soft, skin like material.

Inside these objects, a bending sensor was inserted in a way that it would pass on electrical information to an EZIO controller. Then the EZIO sends the information to the computer through a standard Serial Port. Macromedia Director then reads the signal and converts it into numbers to which a set of behaviors is assigned.

The typography component is an animation of the phrase “It is so ugly” that swells and throbs when the interface is squeezed.
The phrase “It’s so ugly” is reminiscent of “bruto-kaka”, the most popular expression used by Venitian adults to reprimand children when they touch something they are not supposed to.
The conflict between the natural curiosity, the instinct to explore the world trough physical contact and the repression induced by the internalized authority of the parental figure is also alluded to in the design of the typography of the piece. The lumpish letterforms have a fleshy texture that echoes once again, the relevance of the skin as the interface through which our bodies explore the tangible world that surrounds us.

Thanks to:
Gail Swanlund
Jennifer Steinkamp
Josh Nimoy