The tangibility of tabletop/object interfaces can make them much more approachable and informal than screen-based applications. That, plus you’re focused on the experience — not distracted by all the other apps or toolbars fighting for your attention. So it was cool to discover these two recent explorations.
The first, Augmented Shadow, is by Joon Moon, a grad student at Parsons. By moving an object designated as the light-source, the other objects’ shadows are updated. The longer the light is held still, the more plants grow and activities are revealed inside the buildings. It reminds me a bit of the Luminous Planning Table but more playful. [via PSFK]
The second piece, Tablescape Animations (the link is a translation. here is the page in Japanese), is from the Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory, in Keio University, Japan. In this, users can draw different poses for characters and then, as they move the pieces on the table, the characters update. It’s a great idea for improvising quick animations and sequences. Plus using hand drawn characters makes it feel even more friendly.
Hey – it might even be interesting to try combining aspects of these two projects. What if you could draw the characters that appeared inside the shadow houses? What if you could record the movements? Maybe use those recordings to describe worlds within the houses. Time for some mashups!