What is a calming interface? It’s certainly not your laptop. Nor is it your glowing phone screen or the TV hanging on your wall. Today, technology is developed for maximum engagement. It is the opposite of calm.
Researchers from the MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group are looking to change that with something they call “Programmable Droplets.” Using a technique called electrowetting, researchers can use electrical currents to “program” certain behaviors into droplets of water. This could mean splitting the droplets in half, creating a single blob, or forming new shapes and words out of water.
The effect is a graphical user interface, only, you know, with moisture. In a video, the researchers show how the beads of water can be used to create living watercolor paintings, interactive games, and messages that seem to magically appear on a foggy mirror. We’ll take that over a text any day.