A Brief Rant on Interaction design

In response to these videos

I call this technology Pictures Under Glass. Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade.

Is that so bad, to dump the tactile for the visual? Try this: close your eyes and tie your shoelaces. No problem at all, right? Now, how well do you think you could tie your shoes if your arm was asleep? Or even if your fingers were numb? When working with our hands, touch does the driving, and vision helps out from the back seat.

Pictures Under Glass is an interaction paradigm of permanent numbness. It’s a Novocaine drip to the wrist. It denies our hands what they do best. And yet, it’s the star player in every Vision Of The Future.

My problem is the opposite, really — this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It’s a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible.

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About the people who work with Robots on Mars

Research Article Titled: “Seeing like a rover”: embodied experience on the mars exploration rover mission

Although they work with two non-humanoid robots located several million miles away, the distributed team that operates the Mars Exploration Rovers demonstrates an uncanny sympathy for their robotic teammates. This paper examines not only how the Rovers are anthropomorphized by the human team, but also how the team takes on characteristics of the Rovers while conducting science and operations on Mars. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork with the Mars Rover mission, the paper places the configuration of the user in social context and probes the role of the machine as social resource, with implications for HCI.

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