It might look like an innocent piece of foil just itching to be crumpled to you, but that's only half true. This metallic layer, titled @><#!!!, is the surface of a machine that's trying to interact with humans on an emotional level. As you approach the piece of material, it senses your distance and begins to curl inward when your hand gets too close. Touching the material will cause it to crumple and curl, almost like an invisible hand is forcing @><#!!! into a ball. But then as you retreat, the foil returns to its original, vegetative state to wait for its next playmate. Almost as if to say, "Give me a break." The piece is meant to get the user thinking about the way they interpret @><#!!! and what it has to say about their own character and conditions.
The science behind this hi-tech emotional tease? An arduino board acts as a controller for sensors located in an inner layer of foil. In response to these invisible sensors and the data they collect, the arduino board tells the top layer of foil how to react. The top layer of foil is connected to small wheels, making it easy to smoothly crumple and stretch its surface. Users have expressed many different thoughts over the project, from finding it cute to comparing it to a primitive animal.
Click on for more photos and a video showing how @><#!!! interacts with people.