Last week I visited the Institute for Multimedia Literacy which is project of the Annenberg Center for Communication and part of University of Southern California. Here is one the most tangible things I got see.
This is a digital wall that Anne Balsamo has been involved in developing. The actual implementation is rather old I think – from about 2000 – but different versions have been developed as far as content is concerned. I wrote about another kind of digital wall in an entry in my personal blog a few days ago and it is interesting to see this wall which is not about making more/bigger but rather about an innovative two-level interface (and a more qualitative-based difference).
You move the screen along (notice the handles) and it is a very physical kind of interaction. As you move the screen along screen content will change according to where you are located in relation to the timeline. Here literacy is the topic of the timline. This kind of device is partly intended for museum-like installations I imagine. I they have students add content to it which provides an interesting model. The background is static (it takes a certain amount of time and money to create a new one I imagine). It would be interesting with a screen-based background but maybe you would lose out on tangibility then (and the cost would certainly rise). Another thing I wondered about was whether it would be possible to have multiple-layer content on the screen (for one section) – or some kind of application. That would require a touch screen but would potentially be very powerful I think. Possibly you would get away from the simplicity of the interface though. In any case, this is a very innovative interface and application.