Physical Interaction in a Dematerialized World
Lukas Van Campenhout, Joep Frens, Kees Overbeeke, Achiel Standaert, Herbert Peremans


Dematerialization is an ongoing process in today’s generation of intelligent, digital products; content becomes disengaged from fixed carriers, and flows freely through networks and devices. We have witnessed how music CDs and cash money have been replaced by MP3 files and digital payments, as well as how dematerialization has entered the field of books. In this study, the process of dematerialization is explored. We define it and focus on its benefits and drawbacks, while trying to find answers to the question of how to design dematerialized products without neglecting the rich values of the physical world. Regarding this, we take a look at the approach of Tangible Interaction, and find it inspirational. Subsequently, in two design cases of an audio system and a payment terminal, we lay the foundations for our own design approach, which is situated in between the Tangible Interaction approach and the approach that is applied in today’s generation of digital products. Finally, our approach is placed within the context of the Rich Interaction paradigm.

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