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Thesis Explanation

Last semester I embark on creating a interactive art installation controlled by a mobile phone. The main thing I learned from that project was that people are not accustomed to using the phone to control installations. Touchscreens from phones to larger touch surfaces are all over the place. There is an underlying vocabulary(gestures) on how to use touchscreens. Yet, the vocabulary on how touchscreens can successfully work installations has yet to be fully explored.

Understanding how touchscreens and interactive installations can work effectively is the key. For my thesis, I will lay out the framework for use cases and best practices for touchscreens in interactive intallation. I will make the interface builder and establishing the protocol by which to talk to the networked installations. By offering this service, designers could start thinking of how to make exhibits interaction with touchscreens more viable. This will create the dialogue between the users and the institutions that use the service.

The philosophy of the project is simplicity. I want users to be able to design, monitor, and simplify wiring of the projects. This allows for a quick turn around in the creating, testing, and implementation phase. When patrons use the system, logging user interactions can quantify what works and does not work in interface and the exhibit. By being able to iterate and collect data from projects, we can further the dialogue and ultimately create an exhibit or installation that fully conveys the designers intent.

What I would like to achieve with my project is be able to let designers tell a story through a user’s interaction with touchscreens and use that input to interact with an exhibit or art piece. For example, by using touch screens from a mobile device we can display information about an exhibit but we can also highlight important objects or parts of objects by letting users control the exhibit. By making interactive exhibits networked objects, we could make them more vibrant, up-to-date, and collect user interaction information.

The main goal is to let designers create an interface that will control an installation. The user will login to their project on the website. Then they will setup what the interface will control, i.e. motor, light, projection, etc. The program will supply you with the code to interface between the online interface and the micro controller. You will have to put to the circuits together and provide a touchscreen surface to display your interface. The site will offer approved hardware and tutorials as a guide. This is the ultimate goal for the project.

Questions to be asked:

What is your favorite interactive exhibit or art piece you’ve made?

What piece you’ve made has had the most sophisticated interaction?

What is your least successful interaction in an exhibit and why?

When do you use a touchscreen for interaction?

Have you used touchscreens to control physical objects?

Have you considered a phones touch screen as a method for interaction? Ie like a remote control

Given the chance and ease, would you redesign exhibit interfaces on a regular bases?

Is remote monitoring of an exhibit important to you?