Brains and Entrails

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Inside SID Designs

Multi-sensory environments (MSE) incorporate sensory artifacts to blend sensory stimuli, such as visuals, sounds, textures, aromas and motion, with the purpose of enabling users to arouse or relax. In practice these environments, though rich in sensuousness, are not exactly interactive and do not have a tight and co-located response to the user’s actions. SID designs aim to develop and demonstrate the potentials of interactive design in MSE.

SID designs were controlled by computer or Arduino boards to explore various tight and co-located couplings of light to touch, push, grab and hug. Some designs provide vibration or movement feedback to the interaction, and some others provide audible response. With these designs the children have shown us a vast topology of interaction and bodily engagement that would not be present in a passive MSE.


  • Inside LivelyButton
    Overview The thought behind the LivelyButton is to explore spatial co-locatedness. It is a simple construct of a capacitive sensor controlling two RGB LED-strips connected to an Arduino board, and a stepper motor connected to another Arduino board via a motor shield. The motor spins two metal spirals below the surface of a semi-transparent fabric... Read more »
  • Inside LivelyForm
    Overview The thought behind LivelyForm is investigating if the interaction with a moving object, such as LivelyForm, can promote the child’s own movement. The construct is a worm-like elongated form that can bend (curl) and stretch. Movement is produced by a 24V DC-motor pulling a cord connected to the other end of the form. The skeleton... Read more »
  • Inside ActiveCurtain
    Overview The thought behind the ActiveCourtain was to relate the feel of one’s body touching the material to color change where the child presses. The physical design artifact is basically a backlit projection of colored surface into a soft screen. A Microsoft® Kinect sensor is located behind the soft screen, detecting the location and depth... Read more »
  • Inside MalleablePillow
    Overview The basic thought behind the MalleablePillow is to explore continuous and co-located coupling of actions and effects that are tightly connected to the child when using his or her body. There has been several versions of MalleablePillow developed during the project. Early versions used accelerometers embedded in egg-shaped styrofoam balls to detect the movement... Read more »
  • Inside HugBag
    Overview The thought behind HugBag was to make use of the child’s strong and gross motor based actions, while exploring continuous and co-located coupling of action and effect tightly connected to the child’s gross motor activity. The construct is made of a semi-inflated gym ball resting on a semi-circular plate base. An accelerometer mounted on... Read more »