VoodooIO adopts a vision of the physical interface as a malleable material that can be shaped and adapted, rather than a device with a predetermined form or prescribed use. The intention is to overcome the obstacles that prevent hardware interfaces from being as easily appropriable by users as graphical user interfaces (and software applications in general) have become, blurring the boundaries between interface developers, interaction designers and end-users.
The concept is based on deconstructing the interface into atomic units of control – such as buttons, switches, knobs, sliders and lights – and a substrate material that allows individual units to be aggregated and spatially organized into control surfaces distributed across the environment.
VoodooIO builds on the technology originally developed in the Pin&Play project: Controls are implemented as tiny self-contained embedded devices with I/O, memory and a network interface; pin-like connectors built onto the base of controls supply a means of socketless attachment to the substrate material; the substrate acts both as a physical network medium and power supply. The net effect is one where physical attachment equals digital connectivity.
VoodooIO enables interaction environments where controls can be freely and ad hoc assigned of meaning and purpose through physical arrangement, spatial layout, and software association. The effect is a malleable interface which can be constructed, adapted and modified in real-time.