After a semester at ITP, I’ve found that one of the most popular themes is synesthesia. Students like to use technology to translate colors into sound, words into images, light into motion, etc.. All of the projects I’ve worked on in Physical Computing do this on one level or another—the very act of converting data into electricity is a sort of synesthesia.
For my final project, I’ve reformatted Twitter as a radio. It’s called Magpi Radio:
I had two objectives for my final project. First, I wanted to create a physical manifestation of a piece of software. I’ve been interested in this idea since the original iPod was released—it was the first time I considered an electronic device as a meatspace expression of software. iTunes and iPod were two interfaces to the same content. I chose Twitter as the software because there’s an endless amount of content and it’s a robust platform that makes two-way communication very easy.
Second, I wanted to think of this project through the lens of product design. How could I piggyback on the user’s understanding of existing interfaces to make it’s function obvious? I chose the radio metaphor for this reason. One knob is power/volume, and the other knob is the channel. More complex use-cases (like content organization and settings) can be handled through Twitter, which allows the behavior to be extensible.
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