During some of my earlier searches into NUI I came across www.nuigroup.com, a community for sharing ideas as NUI is explored. One concept that took me by surprise and made me rethink my initial thoughts of what a Natural User Interface is about was Interaction Grass – Frits Stam. Unfortunately the Web page that had more information is no longer available, but a video still remains. The original concept was to create interactive urban environment scapes in the form of planter benches that a tired business person could sit on and play with. Running their hand through the grass would cause it to light up… here, watch the video of the development process:
Perhaps embedding electronics is anything but a natural experience, but playing is. That is what this was about, bringing out the playfulness in people. It was described that these could be placed near busy urban centers, transit stations, or business parks for people to use to decompress at the end of the day (or at the start of one). But what about other possibilities?
STAY OFF THE GRASS!
How about using this for security? Plant this outside of a secure facility and any movement on the grass could not only instantly alert the security inside to where, but it also light up the intruder.
How about instead of grass, going back to artificial fibers, perhaps a coat that lights up when touched? I could see something like that being popular with the concert or night club crowds.
The point here is don’t just think of NUI as gesture and voice, but it could be expanded to include a range of senses. Maybe even emotional responses.