CUBES

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CUBES is now a fully open-source project.
On the cubes website you can find the code, schematics movies and story of ever cube: idho.org.il/cubes
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At the basis of all interactions lie an action and a reaction. CUBES is a celebration of this ‘substance’ of interaction and its potential for simplicity, surprise, engagement and pleasure.

CUBES abstracts the interactive object into the simplest of forms: a cube. Keeping the form unitary allows us to explore behavior and its intricacies: a collection of 20 objects of very similar form and very different personality.

Our cubes are transparent

We choose to reveal their insides and celebrate the beauty and complexity of the world of electronic components. While not aimed at teaching electronics, the CUBES give a feeling of the mechanisms that make them go, the logic of input, wires, ‘brain’ and output components. The simplest – yet in its own way profound – cube is built from a switch, a battery and a light bulb. The most complex cubes for implementation involve wireless communication, novel materials, advanced code logic. For the experience they entail this should not matter; each is a single marriage of in and out. It is the combination that creates a wealth of behaviors, an architecture of fun.

Who are the “cube people”?

In recent years, sensors (that get information from our environment, like levels of light, heat, applied force, proximity of an object) and actuators (that do things to our environment, like make light, play sound, move about) have become small, inexpensive and ubiquitous. They fill our electronic devices, enabling us to poke, tilt, shake and shout at them. These opportunities have given rise to a rich community of ‘makers’ – people who use electronics as building blocks for personal creations and designs. In our Interaction Lab we have amassed a community of people who create within this world of “physical computing” or “tangible interaction design”. In order to make our 20 cubes, we asked 10 of them to be “cube people” and to implement the behavior of the cubes in electronics and code. CUBES is built on open source hardware (the Arduino project), open source projects and shared community know-how. Some cubes have their DNA in past projects of the lab.

a vocabulary of input types

The collection of Cubes creates a vocabulary of input types – knocking, blowing, shaking, adjusting, turning, selecting, moving closer and away, making light and obstructing it. Our cubes instruct the visitor directly about the input they require, and leave the output to be discovered. Different cubes explore specific themes of Interaction Design such as animism (the Dizzy cube), agency (the Knocking cube), magic (the Exhibitionist cube), time (the Vibrating cube). Some cubes allude to well known practices in the field on Interaction Design: the Connect cube to the tradition of Circuit bending; the Ruler cube – with its split-flap display from an old clock – to the tradition of re-purposing components; the Homesick cube, to a specific project we love: Soner Ozenc’s prayer rug that glows strongest when pointed to Mecca.
We invite visitors to engage with CUBES and discover the specific action that makes each cube go. Those who engage further will discover opportunities for inter-relationships between the cubes and opportunities for co-action with others.

Cubes – TEI conference short paper

A project by the HIT Interaction Lab:
Eran Gal-Or, Michal Rinott, Shachar Geiger, Luka Or
With the cube people:
Udi Oren (Baloon Cube, SMS Cube), Idit Minka (RGB Cube), Michael Harari (Ruler Cube), Liron Hefetz (Cricket Cube), Yonatan Ward & Gil Adam (Knock Cube), Leor Weinstein (Recording Cube), Itai Galim (Chameleon Cube), Guy Izoun (Storm Cube), Yair Reshef (Lever Cubes), Liat Ackerman (Imagine Cube).
Zohar Shemesh – Visual Communication