BT Technology Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 287–299 | Cite as

Bringing Clay and Sand into Digital Design — Continuous Tangible user Interfaces

  • H Ishii
  • C Ratti
  • B Piper
  • Y Wang
  • A Biderman
  • E Ben-Joseph


Tangible user interfaces (TUIs) provide physical form to digital information and computation, facilitating the direct manipulation of bits. Our goal in TUI development is to empower collaboration, learning, and decision-making by using digital technology and at the same time taking advantage of human abilities to grasp and manipulate physical objects and materials. This paper presents a new generation of TUIs that enable dynamic sculpting and computational analysis using digitally augmented continuous physical materials. These new types of TUI, which we have termed 'Continuous TUIs', offer rapid form giving in combination with computational feedback. Two experimental systems and their applications in the domain of landscape architecture are discussed here, namely 'Illuminating Clay' and 'SandScape'. Our results suggest that by exploiting the physical properties of continuous soft materials such as clay and sand, it is possible to bridge the division between physical and digital forms and potentially to revolutionise the current design process.


Design Process Computational Analysis Multimedia Information Physical Object Human Computer Interaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • H Ishii
  • C Ratti
  • B Piper
  • Y Wang
  • A Biderman
  • E Ben-Joseph

There are no affiliations available

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