Schematic and Public Multitouch Social Interaction

Touchwall Demo from Joel on Vimeo.

Joel Johnson’s exclusive (on Vimeo?) video and interview with the folks at Schematic about their new touchwall shows them dealing with some interesting public multitouch issues. I hate the marketing crap that goes with it and the inevitable Minority Report reference (please, stop making that reference multitouch people), but the idea that what they’re really interested in is “the social interaction in front of the screen” is spot on.

Apart from the fun of playing with what looks like a giant iPhone screen, the key thing about large multitouch screens is that more than one person can use it at once. If it just replicates a bank of individual screens it’s missing the point of having one big one. Connecting people together in social play and interaction can be really engaging and it will be interesting to see what developers and designers explore in this area.

The other issue that they talk about in the video is how to solve the identity problem on such a device so that you don’t have to walk up to it (or “into it” as one of the interviewees says) and type in a log-in. RFID tags come to the rescue, which means the wall knows who you are as soon as you’re close enough to use it.

If we’re going to make comparisons to Minority Report, that screen was an individual experience operated alone by Cruise’s character. By contrast a multi-user multitouch screen feels to me to be much more Star Trek or James Bond to me and about using collaborative workspaces with the added layer of data feeds.

Play as you go – hijacking public spaces

A quick reblog of Pixelsumo’s post about Bruno Taylor’s work hijacking public places to make playful spaces, which explores the notion that play is being designed out of the public realm.

“71% of adults used to play on the streets when they were young. 21% of children do so now,” says Taylor.

The above video is a nice guerilla take-over of a bus stop to turn it into a swing. I’m amazed, and pleased, that nobody stopped them. This is London right? You can hardly take a photo without the police stopping and searching you. But I often feel these kind of childhood playthings have a way of connecting to some deep feelings of dissatisfaction with what our adult lives have turned into and make people much more accepting of them.

Chris has some nice pics on Pixelsumo and you’ll want to check out the rest of his playgrounds postings whilst you’re there.

Public Bench Camera Play

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Jay tied a disposable camera to a public bench with a note asking people to play. Amazingly it didn’t get nicked and the whole roll was shot by the end of the day.

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Give people a chance play and they will. And they play nicely.

(Via Photojojo).

[tags]photos, public[/tags]