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Speaking at PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO, Josh Walton of the Rockwell Group discussed how their design projects are about finding and exploring the blur between physical and digital. Walton highlighted some of the previous projects worked on by the firm, and how they are executed in a highly interdisciplinary manner. An example of a recent project is an interactive city sculpture in San Jose, California. The sculpture consists of a projection on to the side of a building, which creates a new floating block each time a person steps on to a hopscotch pad nearby on the ground. However, the device is also connected to Twitter, Foursquare, and Flickr, so each time someone post anything within a five mile radius another block is projected. In this way, the installation creates a sort of communication between its physical and digital interactivity.
Other Rockwell projects such as the Jet Blue JFK terminal and the entryway to the Venice Biennale have sought to explore these kinds of interactions. Looking forward, Walton sees the development of retail spaces as a prime target for these kinds of projects.
At Rockwell, Walton is also involved in a project called ‘Spacebrew,’ named after the Homebrew computer club of Silicon Valley, which seeks to use computers to bring people together and create interactive spaces. Looking at the evolution of the personal computer, he sees that we are constantly in a state of figuring out how we should interact with our devices. In fact, the future of computing may be completely immersive, and the spaces we inhabit could actually be constructed out of interactive computer pieces. The Spacebrew project is designed to explore how environments could be different in the future, and how we can work together to think about ways in which that might happen.