Chapter 11. Physical Feedback

Although there are projects that allow us to alter an aspect of reality as it confronts us (the Parallel Tracking and Mapping project at the Oxford Robots Lab or the ARToolkit library come to mind), nothing can replace the richness of the actual physical sensation of the world around us. This includes, of course, both the sound and the images of the world around us, as discussed in earlier chapters, but too often the easily manipulated senses are the only ones that interaction art and design addresses. Any industrial or product designer, architect, or sculptor can tell you about the emotional and cognitive effects that the physical product has upon us. Objects that are carried, lifted, or felt; that change the nature of space around us; or that let us change the nature of the space around us engage us differently than those that do not.

When you’re thinking about creating physical feedback, you’re thinking about using mechanics and about creating machines. More than any other topic in this book, physical feedback involves thinking about and using the practices of mechanical and electrical engineering and coupling them with programming. Luckily for you, the Arduino community on the bulletin boards is very knowledgeable and helpful in answering questions about these sorts of topics, and a host of other resources are available. This does require a slightly different approach and way of thinking, though, because you’ll need to follow along quite closely ...

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