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  • A computer is an incredibly powerful means

  • of creative expression,

  • but for the most part,

  • that expression is confined to the screens

  • of our laptops and mobile phones.

  • And I'd like to tell you a story about

  • bringing this power of the computer

  • to move things around and interact with us

  • off of the screen and into the physical world

  • in which we live.

  • A few years ago, I got a call from

  • a luxury fashion store called Barneys New York,

  • and the next thing I knew,

  • I was designing storefront kinetic sculptures

  • for their window displays.

  • This one's called "The Chase."

  • There are two pairs of shoes,

  • a man's pair and a woman's pair,

  • and they play out this slow, tense chase

  • around the window

  • in which the man scoots up behind the woman

  • and gets in her personal space,

  • and then she moves away.

  • Each of the shoes has magnets in it,

  • and there are magnets underneath the table

  • that move the shoes around.

  • My friend Andy Cavatorta was building

  • a robotic harp for Bjork's Biophilia tour

  • and I wound up building the electronics

  • and motion control software

  • to make the harps move and play music.

  • The harp has four separate pendulums,

  • and each pendulum has 11 strings,

  • so the harp swings on its axis and also rotates

  • in order to play different musical notes,

  • and the harps are all networked together

  • so that they can play the right notes

  • at the right time in the music.

  • I built an interactive chemistry exhibit

  • at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago,

  • and this exhibit lets people use physical objects

  • to grab chemical elements off of the periodic table

  • and bring them together to cause

  • chemical reactions to happen.

  • And the museum noticed that people

  • were spending a lot of time with this exhibit,

  • and a researcher from a science education center

  • in Australia decided to study this exhibit

  • and try to figure out what was going on.

  • And she found that the physical objects

  • that people were using were helping people

  • understand how to use the exhibit,

  • and were helping people learn in a social way.

  • And when you think about it, this makes a lot of sense,

  • that using specialized physical objects

  • would help people use an interface more easily.

  • I mean, our hands and our minds are optimized

  • to think about and interact with tangible objects.

  • Think about which you find easier to use,

  • a physical keyboard or an onscreen keyboard

  • like on a phone?

  • But the thing that struck me

  • about all of these different projects

  • is that they really had to be built from scratch,

  • down to the level of the electronics

  • and the printed circuit boards and

  • all the mechanisms all the way up to the software.

  • I wanted to create something

  • where we could move objects under computer control

  • and create interactions around that idea

  • without having to go through this process

  • of building something from scratch

  • every single time.

  • So my first attempt at this

  • was at the MIT Media Lab

  • with Professor Hiroshi Ishii,

  • and we built this array of

  • 512 different electromagnets,

  • and together they were able to move objects around

  • on top of their surface.

  • But the problem with this

  • was that these magnets

  • cost over 10,000 dollars.

  • Although each one was pretty small,

  • altogether they weighed so much

  • that the table that they were on

  • started to sag.

  • So I wanted to build something

  • where you could have this kind of interaction

  • on any tabletop surface.

  • So to explore this idea,

  • I built an army of small robots,

  • and each of these robots has what are called omni wheels.

  • They're these special wheels

  • that can move equally easily in all directions,

  • and when you couple these robots

  • with a video projector,

  • you have these physical tools

  • for interacting with digital information.

  • So here's an example of what I mean.

  • This is a video editing application

  • where all of the controls

  • for manipulating the video are physical.

  • So if we want to tweak the color,

  • we just enter the color mode,

  • and then we get three different dials

  • for tweaking the color,

  • or if we want to adjust the audio,

  • then we get two different dials for that, these physical objects.

  • So here the left and right channel stay in sync,

  • but if we want to, we can override that

  • by grabbing both of them at the same time.

  • So the idea is that we get the speed

  • and efficiency benefits of using these physical dials

  • together with the flexibility and versatility

  • of a system that's designed in software.

  • And this is a mapping application

  • for disaster response.

  • So you have these physical objects

  • that represent police, fire and rescue,

  • and a dispatcher can grab them

  • and place them on the map

  • to tell those units where to go,

  • and then the position of the units on the map

  • gets synced up with the position

  • of those units in the real world.

  • This is a video chat application.

  • It's amazing how much emotion you can convey

  • with just a few simple movements

  • of a physical object.

  • With this interface, we open up a huge array of possibilities

  • in between traditional board games

  • and arcade games,

  • where the physical possibilities of interaction

  • make so many different styles of play possible.

  • But one of the areas that I'm most excited

  • about using this platform for

  • is applying it to problems that are difficult

  • for computers or people to solve alone.

  • One example of those is protein folding.

  • So here we have an interface

  • where we have physical handles onto a protein,

  • and we can grab those handles

  • and try to move the protein and try to fold it in different ways.

  • And if we move it in a way that doesn't really make sense

  • with the underlying molecular simulation,

  • we get this physical feedback where we can

  • actually feel these physical handles

  • pulling back against us.

  • So feeling what's going on

  • inside a molecular simulation

  • is a whole different level of interaction.

  • So we're just beginning to explore

  • what's possible when we use software

  • to control the movement

  • of objects in our environment.

  • Maybe this is the computer of the future.

  • There's no touchscreen.

  • There's no technology visible at all.

  • But when we want to have a video chat

  • or play a game

  • or lay out the slides to our next TED Talk,

  • the objects on the table come alive.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

A computer is an incredibly powerful means

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B1 US TED physical exhibit interface move harp

【TED】James Patten: The best computer interface? Maybe ... your hands (James Patten: The best computer interface? Maybe ... your hands)

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    CUChou posted on 2015/03/11
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