undulating waveforms in a physical object: a language for pattern recognition

Undulating Waveforms used with pattern recognition

Given that we are able to detect kinetic patterns, and changes or modifications in kinetic patterns, a question arises as to what types of kinetic patterns could potentially be effective in transmitting and manipulating data flow. These group of experiments show that undulating patterns could be effective.

In these experiments, I began looking at patterns in a new form of language, where the pattern became rhythmic undulations within a physical form. Object recognition and familiar patterns are relatively simple to recognize through tactile feeling. For example, when we run our fingers down a wall in a dark room in search for a light switch, we are able to recognize the switch to turn on the lights. Thus recognizing common objects by touch is not something that we can do, but something that we already do with common objects in our environments. The question that these set of experiments hope to answer is, can these kinetic patterns be detected as easily as familiar static objects?

My interest in the undulating physical form came from my investigations in waveforms (digital and physical) and the patterns they create. After the inclusion of rhythm and active undulating forms, I propose a hypothetical environment where the user can use a tactile and malleable interface to then control a workflow process. By using our hands for direct control over data flow, the user gains control over the processes taking place. Upon this further investigation, I became interested in creating a new language to be used in the representation of patterns and sequences with undulating waveforms. In a typical workflow process most, if not all, interaction is through the screen and software. However with this project I aim to take on a speculative approach to interpret and control the data with the use of this proposed language of undulating waveforms.

Prototype 4

In this final experiment in the sequence, kinetic undulating patterns were utilized to determine whether subjects were able to detect pattern, and changes in patterns, in cases in which the undulating patterns were kinetic. Notably, the use of moving “waves” differs from the most common and current type of kinetic haptic feedback – vibrotactile feedback. In the experiment a rod with oval shapes aligned horizontally down it was rotated creating a physically undulating pattern on a flexible Lycra surface. The rod was then replaced with a different configuration of oval shapes therefore creating different undulating patterns on the surface.

People then felt the Lycra surface with their hands and reported, after a period of learning, that they were able to detect the change in patterns. Thus, kinetic undulating patterns could additionally possess the capability of effectively transmitting data.

Prototype 3

Prototype 2

Prototype 1

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