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“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

– Steve Jobs

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In Blog

By phil

It’s not a laptop, it’s a SLAB – What people are missing about the iPad

On 28, Jan 2010 | In Blog, ideas | By phil

A lot of doubters are making a classic mistake in evaluating Apple’s iPad. They did the same thing after the initial announcement for the iPhone, or for that matter the Toyota Prius. The mistake is thinking in terms of existing categories and value propositions. For the iPad, the doubt seems to boil down to: “I don’t like it because it doesn’t fit my ideal for a great laptop.” The critiques don’t always state it those terms, but I think that’s where it’s coming from. No camera, no keyboard, no multi-tasking, no Flash (okay, actually Safari on the iPad really does need that), etc. – these are standard expectations for a laptop.

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In Blog

By phil

microsoft future 2019 – not so original

On 15, Mar 2009 | In Blog | By phil

The Microsoft Office Labs Vision 2019 video recently shown at the Wharton Business Technology Conference, by Microsoft’s Business Division president Stephen Elop (text of speech), does a good job of showing potential modes of interacting with embedded and ubiquitous multi-touch displays. But how original is it? My students in Art Center College of Design’s graduate Media Design Program have been working on ideas like this for many years, and have made speculative videos like this, as well as working prototypes and real projects. See below for several examples, as well as some thoughts on where future interfaces should go – is Microsoft just proposing another version of windows?

Update: Behind the scenes of the making of the video

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Microsoft Office Lab’s Vision 2019 video


MDP Alumni Sebastian Bettencourt’s Beyond The Fold Newspaper Project


Here are links to several of my students’ past projects:

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In Blog

By phil

Honda & GPJ donate multi-touch table to the Media Design Program

On 26, Apr 2008 | In Blog | By phil

American Honda and George P. Johnson have donated one of their Oracle Multi-touch Tables to the Media Design Program. We now have it permanently in our graduate studio where it is available for faculty and students to develop new applications. In particular, we’re interested in exploring how large sets of text and image content can be explored in a collaborative way with multiple users.

More on the original project

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In portfolio

By phil

Acura Oracles, round multitouch table

On 27, Jan 2007 | In portfolio | By phil

The Acura Oracle project was initiated by MDP alumni Nikolai Cornell at George P. Johnson for the Acura stand at the international auto shows (including Detroit, Chicago, New York, and LA) for the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 exhibitions. It’s a 4 foot round multitouch table that enables a social experience for a group of people.

I participated as a consultant in the initial creative brainstorming and technical definition. I brought in Moto Development to create the multi-touch technology and optics, coordinated Moto with the creative team, advised on interaction design issues, and developed test projects and tools exploring different interaction possibilities. In the summer of 2007 GPJ loaned an Oracle for use in my class, and student Jonathan Jarvis made demos that became the design basis for the second version that was at the 2008 auto shows.

Video after the break

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In Blog

By phil

Infiniti Interactive Mirror – 2006 Detroit Auto Show

On 19, Jan 2006 | In Blog, portfolio | By phil

An installation for Infiniti at the International Auto Shows, the Infiniti Interactive Mirror is a 3 screen interface that uses mirrored glass and rear projection to create a seamless large screen touch interface. George P. Johnson created the project with Nikolai Cornell as creative director (MDP alum, based on his thesis project). Nikolai worked with The Designory, MindFlood, and my company Commotion.

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On this project, I provided consulting on interaction design and approaches for the project, and designed and built the sensor system that detects a person’s hand position in front of a flat surface without any sensors on the sides of the display or behind the user.

Read an article on how the project was produced (rescued with the wayback machine – was originally published online at, but communication arts killed it).

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