How do our devices see us?

Those of you who looked into Dennis Koks’ post about the paper “Why Bodies Matter” may have seen a strange finger-eye-ears mutant picture in it. What was it? How the Computer Sees Us

It’s an illustration of  the answer to Dan O’Sullivan and Tom Igoe’s question (from the book “Physical Computing”) of “what does a person look like to a computer?” In other words, to most computers with a mouse, keyboard, and GUI “we might look like a hand with one finger, one eye, and two ears. ” (2002, ppxi-xix).

On the 40th anniversary of the “Mother of All Demos” (where Doug Engelbart premiered that very interface), it’s worth looking thinking about how newer devices ‘see us’.

For example, from an iPhone’s perspective, we might have quite a few tentacles (after all, it’s all about stroking, not clicking). That said, we’re definitely something big and powerful, since we can affect the accelerometers by rotating the device. And add-ons like the Heart Monitor Application might make an iPhone realise we are alive ….

A Wii might see us as one huge hand and eye.

iPod + Nike Fit would see us as feet and fingers. The list goes on ….

  1. Nice how you elaborate on the image! Very interesting. It would be fun to design these type of creatures for a wide range of devices and make a big poster out of it. I’m curious which device would come the closest to a full human being. I doubt if that would make it the ‘ultimate’ device though.

    What’s the difference between this blog and your other blog? Love your writing. Do you’ve got a portfolio online somewhere?

  2. vickyteinaki said:

    I’ve always liked that little diagram (came across it a few months ago), and decided to follow it up … couldn’t believe that it was the article referenced in your post!

    Regarding your question about the blogs, this is actually supposed to be my very first post to Johnny Holland! (Have to wait for clearance from Jeroen first, and for it to get linked up etc ….) I’m trying to figure out how to potentially reconcile writing for Johnny, and my own site (could be that my sites posts are a lot briefer).

    So hopefully see you at Johnny soon!

  3. hehehe Damn! Jeroen was there first hehe. It’s really funny, I didn’t know. What are the odds. I saw your stuff and I thought cool! Maybe she would be into contributing to Johnny :P.

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