Tangible computing has a long history of interest in technology circles; like augmented reality and computer-supported cooperative work, it has long been the focus of research studies in academic institutions, and not ironically, the focus of a large quantity of science fiction movies, too. It is only in the past half-decade, however, that the stars have aligned to support tangible computing in practice.
Timely, then, is Mark Gross and Mark Baskinger’s cover story describing the opportunities-and challenges-of tangible computing in normal life. They introduce the new and old, and emphasize the importance of product form in bringing tangibility to life in an appropriate and reflective manner. Don Norman builds on the premise of “transmedia“- technological media solutions that aren’t just functional, but are also pleasurable and satisfying.
Another theme that describes curation and the increasingly vague-and important-role of information, socialization, and data visualization in our lives. A third and final segment in our miniseries on iSchools is presented by Martha E. Pollack, dean of the School of Information at the University of Michigan. She describes the need to embrace-and potentially, better define-the word “information” in our efforts to train those who will engage in design and information. Peter Jones responds to Hugh Dubberly’s thoughts on conversation, with his own ideas on this method of information transfer; Jones reflects on the relationship between conversation and design, and calls attention to a deep body of knowledge related to this topic.
And also the increasing importance of the ongoing role of user as co-creator and co-owner, such as in the operationalization of brands (see Denise Yohn’s article) and even in the creation-and ownership- of a museum (see Alex Wright’s interview with Jake Barton, the designer of the September 11 Memorial).