Touch the Small World


Featured on the Device Art exhibition at the Ars Electronica Center, Touch the Small World from the Japanese artist Hideyuki Ando is a tiny piece with huge potential. At a first glance the work consists in a simple black and white touchscreen, but when the elements in the screen (simple lines, shapes and patterns) are touched the magic happens; they trigger a spot vibration that is able to realize a perceptual illusion of surface on the fingertips.
This piece can be seen as the first practical solution to a real interaction problem introduced by the explosion of the usage of touchscreen devices: the lack of haptic perception. Though the iPhone and other gadgets with the same touch capabilities have created some new and powerful ways of interacting with a system, they completely denied how important the sense of touch is for the human-machine interaction, binding the vision as an obligatory sense for the experience. Touch the Small World is important insight that may lead to relevant improvements in the interface design state of the art.