Tangible interfaces

"There has been good evidence to support the fact thatthrough touching, manipulating, exploring and testing, children find out and learn about the world around them" - Madhur Khandelwal, Ali Mazalek. (2007)


Interfaces are merely graphical today! A PC is usually operated via a mouse and a keyboard, but these do not operate the PC directly. The mouse controls the PC via a small arrow on your screen. Moving the mouse does not by itself affect the behavior of the computer, it is the (graphic) arrow, its position and function connected with this place that determine the behavior of the computer. This is called a graphical interface.


A new way of operating a computer (or other devices) is the touch or tangible interface. There are tangible objects that are themselves part of the interaction operating the whole system. By operating the objects, moving, rotating, or pressing, meaningful action-patterns are created that can control a device. Importantly, the objects themselves are a part of the interface and they themselves have a meaning.

Handling objects and the simulation of physical interventions in the digital environment is an interesting experience and offers a more intuitive way of working and learing. While tangible interfaces that are able to change shape or textures are still in early stages, other technologies such as 3D projection and augmented reality are readily available for use in learning environments today.

Source: New World of Learning (VANERUM Group).