Tangible Earth, the interactive globe now on view here at Cooper-Hewitt, engages the sense of touch to create a feeling of connection between people and their planet. Lots of designers today are exploring ways to enhance digital devices with touch. For example, MIT Media Lab’s OnObject system can turn any object into a tactile interactive interface. The user can tag any object—a cup, a marker, a book, even their clothing—with a vocabulary of sounds, sights or other media using RFID sensors. According to the OnObject website, the educational tool allows children, parents and teachers to “copy-paste the programming from one object to another to propagate the interactivity in your environment.”

A demo of the OnObject system from MIT Media Lab

Tangible Tuesdays features new finds in tactile interaction design each week. We’ll share a different discovery every Tuesday during Cooper-Hewitt’s exhibition of Shinichi Takemura’s Tangible Earth globe.

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