Scientists are developing a technology that transforms water droplets into programmable, interactive tools, for communication.
Researchers from MIT presented a design exploration on how water based droplets in our everyday environment can become interactive elements.
For this exploration, we use electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) technology as the underlying mechanism to precisely program the motion of droplets. EWOD technology provides a means to precisely transport, merge, mix and split water based droplets. We integrate EWOD devices into a range of everyday objects and scenarios to show how programmable water droplets can be used as information displays, interaction medium for painting and personal communication.
The project is being led by researcher Udayan Umapathi and professor Hiroshi Ishii from the University’s Tangible Media Group.
“If you think about it, as we walk in rain, wash our hands or even work in laboratories, we are constantly interacting with water,” said Umapathi. So we started asking the question, if this beautiful and inspiring material which is ever-present could give us a ‘calm’ computer interface. To show that this is possible, we have created the Programmable Droplets system for interaction.”