Slurp digital eyedropper

Digital data and interfaces have certainly become more prevalent, even though to some it’s still a somewhat nebulous, intangible and hard-to-conceive abstract notion. There have been some efforts in making digital gestures more tangible, analog or personal, and the Slurp digital eyedropper is another very interesting concept. Here’s the description:

In this video I demonstrate how slurp can be used to move digital files between machines over the network. Rather than plug a usb drive into the port that corresponds with a specific file seen on a screen, just suck the file directly off the screen itself. Slurp is used like an eyedropper, it vibrates and displays light to indicate it’s state to the user.

Slurp is tangible interface for manipulating abstract digital information as if it were water. Taking the form of an eyedropper, Slurp can extract (slurp up) and inject (squirt out) pointers to digital objects. We have created Slurp to explore the use of physical metaphor, feedback, and affordances in tangible interface design when working with abstract digital media types. Our goal is to privilege spatial relationships between devices and people while providing new physical manipulation techniques for ubiquitous computing environments.

I have a personal interest in tangible media interfaces, especially in the balance between intuitiveness and “tangible-for-tangible’s-sake”, which we often see when some designers turn digital bits into some arbitrary physical objects for little additional benefits/interests. This uncanny valley between the two requires a delicate sense of what’s appropriate and resonant, and I think Slurp has managed this very well indeed.

Slurp is made by Jamie Zigelbaum, Adam Kumpf, Alejandro Vazquez, and Hiroshi Ishii, and you can see more of such works at MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group.

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3 comments so far

  1. Linyou on

    Really? I didn’t know it’s natural for people to move things using eyedropper.
    I think people are tackling the wrong problem. If you look at the bigger picture, this doesn’t really help make life better. You have to move ard more, you probably will end up with loads of tools now (one to magnify the screen, eraser to del etc…) and you end up with more things to misplace and organize.
    If you were to just look at it from usb POV, this is probably a wireless usb? Which is a nice idea because i dun need to plug in and out of my comp, but with all wireless stuff, you need to worry abt security stuffs (connect and authenticate etc), these processes are those that give pple the most headaches. And if it’s a wireless USB containing many files, how do i define what files to transfer over?
    I still prefer drag and drop. It is straight forward. So maybe they should focus on how to allow easy connection of networks and a great UI to go with it.

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  3. Ahmed on

    OMGosh she is sooooo adrbaole!!! How can you ever get mad at that face???!? She’s just learning cause and effect, right? Hee hee. Completely agree with the juice box companies. No muy bueno for the little ones. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend


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