Tangible Map


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As low cost sensing and networked computing become commonplace in our built environment, the quantity of data creates new challenges in access and comprehension. How can we intelligently design user-centric interfaces that help us find meaning in these oceans of data?

The Tangible Map migrates this data into a user experience that can be explored through touch and sight. The goal is to introduce a new strategy for display of complex domains of data that engage more of our human senses.

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Data from Many Sources

The Tangible Map gathers data from a variety of digital sources online, automatically formatting them for the visual interface.

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Static and Dynamic Informatics

Matching the flow of the data onto familiar references like buildings allows us to generate 

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Tactile Interfaces

The map deploys physical representations of buildings, inviting the user to engage with touch.

interaction beyond the touch screen

Over the past two decades of exploration in wearable computing, interfaces have standardized on the flat capacitive touch screen as the end-point in hardware design. While augmented reality technologies are emerging that increase our immersion in our digital world, they create a disconnect between the seen and felt senses, often resulting in vertigo. To expand our knowledge of tactile interfaces, the Tangible Map combines rapid prototyping with programmatic design to create a layer of luminous, touchable version of the campus, allowing for complex displays of data.

By experimenting with a rapidly fabricated interface and programmatic design, we reduced the barriers required to generate a custom interface. This points to a future where blended interfaces can be produced on demand, better adapting to the information we convey.

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Beneath the surface of our vision is a flexible, cloud-based database that serves to consolidate disparate sources of information. Once standardized, the data is concisely packaged for a variety of interfaces, which only access when required by the user. This system allows the Tangible Map to operate independently of any single operating system or hardware configuration