PSFK Speaks With Multitouch Barcelona

How are digital artists changing culture? We talk to one interaction design team to gather insights.

The yearly OFFF Festival is a gathering of disruptive artists who impact the way creative work is being done with digital technology. This year’s OFFF will be held in Paris from June 24-26; as it approaches, PSFK will be talking with creators and designers for their insight on how digital artists are changing culture.

The interaction design team behind Multitouch Barcelona shares their thoughts below:

What projects outside of your own work are currently inspiring you?

At the studio we are currently interested in projects involving everybody into creativity. Those ideas that encourage people to be creative rather than those showing how creative a designer is. A great example is the well known Bubble Project by Ji Lee. Also recently, I’m not an artist created for Elisava School of Design has also been a hit and a reference for us. Our idea is to combine creative platforms with natural interaction design in order to make anyone fluent into the creative process.

Sometimes our obsessions turn into a great source of inspiration. Since we started working together we have been endlessly looking for the best task manager for our daily work. After trying different options, we fell in love with Things App. It is just perfect how this amazing app meets human expectations through a simple and well-thought interface. Using this application is like having someone behind the screen aware of your next movement.

What is your insight on how mobile devices with projection might be used to encourage interesting public interactions?

Mobile devices with projection are definitely a great advance. A good combination of this technique with all the available features in our mobiles (specially the camera and the motion sensor) open an immense field of opportunities that will definitely blur boundaries between the digital and the real world. It will increase the value of the real world by adding strong points from the digital side and vice versa.

There are some interesting ideas out there using portable devices with projection, for example: the Sixth Sense project developed at the MIT Media Lab by Pranav Mistry. “‘It is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.” In our opinion, the final result has some weak points but the concept behind it is tremendously powerful.

We are beginning to see interactions develop from just touch to those that are triggered by eye-tracking, breath, movement, and thought; how do you see these types of sensor-based inputs evolving?

Before the interaction revolution – when multitouch devices, the wiimote and many others gadgets didn’t exist – technology used to limit the ideas in interaction design. There was basically a keyboard, a mouse, a webcam and not much more to play around. Sensor-based inputs did exist and technology was ready but our minds where constrained by the mainstream interaction devices. Once the revolution arrived (iphone, wii, etc…) a lot of people started thinking out of the box to convert all sensor-based technologies into a big source of inspiration for all the interaction design community.

Since then, an exponential advance has taken place and thanks to projects like Arduino and OpenFrameworks there’s an immense field of opportunities; where nothing is and will never be impossible. However, we firmly defend that all these sensor-based inputs and technology in general should be treated with care by supporting it with insightful ideas that stand out the technology itself.

Multitouch Barcelona

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