Zoran Amit and colleagues of the MIT Media Lab have published some interesting papers about hybrid digital hand tools: tools that let the user go freely and expressive, but guided and assisted by digital controls.
In a recent review “The Wise Chisel: The Rise of the Smart Handheld Tool” they show a number of recent tools including subtractive and additive processes.
Several of these tools used feedback from sensors to detect the position of the tool in relation to a digital design (model). The user moves the tool as he or she wishes, and when the sensors detect a critical boundary the system intervenes to prevent an “error”. In this way, a single design can be realized in an individual, unique rendition by each person.
In another article, “The Hybrid Artisans: A Case Study in Smart Tools” they study how people use such tools, including an example of several people creating the same digital design, in their own expressive versions.
This is quite interesting to study, because it must deal with the varied skills and intentions of different people, and in each case must navigate the straights between too much and too little machine control, and also provide a natural and enjoyable interaction. There are many open questions here that can only be studied by really trying it.
These concepts would make cool projects for Makers and such to explore.
(Note: get the full text from your library.)
- Amit,Zoran, Shilkrot Roy, Pragun Goyal, Pattie Maes, and Joseph A. Paradiso, The Wise Chisel: The Rise of the Smart Handheld Tool, in IEEE Pervasive Computing. 2014. p. 48-57. http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MPRV.2014.59
- Zoran, Amit, Roy Shilkrot, Suranga Nanyakkara, and Joseph Paradiso, The Hybrid Artisans: A Case Study in Smart Tools. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact., 21 (3):1-29, 2014.