Chapter 17. Spaces and Environments

In this book, we’ve covered a lot of different means of getting input and creating feedback, but we haven’t discussed to a great extent where that feedback and input takes place. The location of the interaction is a very important consideration, because it provides context for that interaction. Using the user’s location as a data point is one thing; using the location as an element of the interaction itself is a different proposition. Sculptors, architects, and installation artists have explored the notion of communicating meaning through spatial relationships and architectural elements for many years.

You might want to sense data about an environment: reading the light in a room, listening to sound in a room, detecting motion in a room, or detecting gas with a sensor. This could mean making a smart environment or an enabled environment by allowing multiple devices in an environment to communicate with one another. It could also mean using space itself to communicate the message, as in the case of X10 communication, which sends messages over the electrical lines of a building. It could mean thinking sculpturally and helping design space that reacts to users’ commands, like making a room that is reconfigurable from a remote control or that changes based on the time of day, number of people in the room, or heat outside the room. There are so many different conceptions of space both in architectural senses and in aesthetic senses that it’s difficult ...

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