Sifting, sorting and manipulating data with Siftables

Small tangible user interfaces to manipulate digital information and media.

Siftables are small devices which have a graphical display, a number of sensors and wireless communication capabilities. They are small tangible user interfaces which can function individually or in a group, and can be manipulated to interact with digital information and media.

Siftables is a project from David Merrill, a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Fluid Interfaces group at the MIT Media lab, and Jeevan Kalanithi, a designer and technologist from Taco Lab. For the design of Siftables they were inspired by how humans use both hands and all fingers efficiently when manipulating large quantities of small objects. This is a capability which isn’t utilized in today’s human computer interaction. Siftables however does make use of it, and it does it in an extraordinary manner.

Here is a video in which Siftables are demonstrated:

David Merrill’s presentation at TED about Siftables is also definitely worth watching.

Siftables totally makes use of the five themes for interaction design described in the research paper from the Standford Univeristy HCI Research group which we wrote a post about in december. It’s exciting to see how these human capabilities are finding it’s way into human-computer interaction. Are we going to find this in our living-rooms 15 years from now?

Dennis Koks

Dennis Koks (1987, The Netherlands) is a designer | conceptual thinker for interactive media and co-founder of Transparent Spaces. Dennis is fascinated about the social impact of interactive design and how it can improve our daily lives.

6 comments on this article

  1. Thanks Marcel for the link. It’s indeed a very cool presentation, the link is allready in the post ; ) but thanks anyway!

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  3. awesome — love the part in which the heads turn towards each other. i wonder if they can be programmed to have network behaviors — to be sensitive to small groups, or distance, isolation from group, etc?


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