TEI’15 Student Design Challenge

October 7 2014


Important Dates
October 22, 2014, 11:59 pm PST: Entry submission deadline
November 22, 2014: Notification of Acceptance
December 5, 2014, 11:59 pm PST: Student Design Challenge team commitment and registration

The Challenge
The Internet of Things is curiously lacking in knobs and switches. Instead, it’s controlled by a collection of glass rectangles. Our hands do more than just touch and swipe, however. We have fingers that can feel, pinch, grip, turn, and point. They are attached to our arms, which act as levers to amplify the force we can exert with our hands. Our hands and arms are covered with nerve endings that give us intelligence about the world we live in that our eyes and ears can’t fully deliver. History is littered with tools we’ve designed to take full advantage of our hands. Even into the early electronic era, we have designed wonderfully informative tangible tools. Great tangible controls are not just input devices. They act as physical indicators of the state of a system that we read through our hands. The click of a switch gives us haptic feedback that the device has heard our commands. The arrangement of a row of sliders reads like a graph to our fingers. Good tangible interfaces are also well-coupled with the things they control, providing an immediate feedback loop. The feedback from a steering mechanism makes your body a part of the vehicle’s movement, encouraging you to rely on more than just your eyes and ears.

Everyday appliances have grown some wonderful new features thanks to digital technologies. Home lighting is no longer just white light, nor need it be strictly turned on and off with a single switch. Lighting designers (and consumers) can now play with color, intensity, and time in their lamps. Yet tablet device interfaces lack the convenience and immediacy of the switch, particularly when you’re fumbling in the dark. How can you deliver on the promise of these new features, yet retain the convenience and tangible intelligence of the switch? This year’s design challenge is to imagine a digital present that takes full advantage of the capabilities of your hands and arms and delivers not only control, but also feedback about the system it controls. What the everyday tangible controls of our daily life for the 21st century. What’s the best tangible light switch for the Philips Hue? What’s the track selector on a Spotify jukebox? What controls give a media editor the ability to think through his work with his body, shifting pieces, clipping and extending with his hands and arms? Design so that your user can take full advantage of the capabilities of her hands, both operating and learning from touch, feel, and position. Use no sound, and no more than 64 pixels* in your final design. Imagine devices that that allow your user to keep her eyes and ears on the task, not on the controls.

More info at http://www.tei-conf.org/15/student-design-competition

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