Tangible interaction exploits our physical and social embodiment, allowing people not only to manipulate information through augmented physical objects and spaces, but also to derive meaning collectively from these physical-digital manipulations. We believe that tangible systems are extremely well-suited to explore and exploit the ways that people draw from prior experience, social cues, and situational context to render their interactions meaningful in their particular situation.
These systems situate collaboration and interaction in the physical, visible world as well as in digital form. Collaboration in the physical world employs space, bodies, actions, language, and meanings, making these practices more easily available for evaluation. Collaborating through an interactive system can allow for modes of action and engagement that are not normally possible. While studying one or the other can be informative, we believe that there is a clear value in examining collaboration that is manifest as both atoms and bits simultaneously.