We're a little over two weeks into our latest 1 Hour Design Challenge: Gestural Interfaces. In this challenge, Teague and Core77 want to see you create a simple but engaging interaction that does not rely on a screen for input or output. You are free to appropriate an everyday object or to create a unique piece of geometry, but your solution must invite the user to interact with information or their surroundings in a way that encourages discovery while delivering an element of performance.
You've got 11 days left to enter, so set aside an hour and dream up something ingenious. The first place winner will receive and Arduino kit, and both first and second place winners will have $500 donated in their name to NPower Seattle and Project H Design.
Below, a few of our favorites:
Yhan kicks induction stoves up a notch, and uses the entire surface (including the pan) as an interface. When the pan is down, the heat is on, when it's lifted, the heat turns off. While on the stove, the angle of the pan's handle in relation to magnets embedded in the surface will turn the heat up or down. Though originally designed for safety, we imagine that such an interface, with a few tweaks, could be nuanced and intuitive enough to give way to new culinary habits and inventions.
Nomad proposes an interface to end a meal. By blowing a candle out, the diners signify they are done with the meal, avoiding the sometimes-awkward flagging down of already stressed waitstaff. What we love about this idea is that it doesn't have to be electronically or digitally implemented. Nomad points out that staff could simply look for tell-tale (colored?) smoke or, in contrast, the candle could contain a thermally sensitive component that communicates wirelessly with waitstaff and tills.
Finally, LabRats have turned a pavement into a hopscotch lock. While the potential security threat should probably be addressed, we love how physical this interface is, bringing muscle memory into the equation. The project also suggests that physical feats and learned skills could be used as a means of security—if the sequence in the pavement was complex enough and came with a time limit, a highly practiced dance or walk could be required to gain entry.
In all of these examples, simplicity is key, but they also suggest new attitudes towards embedded interfaces and everyday space. You've still got time to enter your own, so get to work!