3–1 P-Comp Reading Response

I found the “The US Navy will replace its touchscreen controls with mechanical ones on its destroyers” article extremely fascinating. It seems like for so long, we, as a society, have been looking forward to the future, trying to find cool pieces of tech we can implement into everyday tasks. This story is a prime example of technology that seems efficient — technology that would help the everyday tasks of a soldier stationed on a boat — but doesn’t necessarily need to exist. The transferring of controls around the boat isn’t 100% necessary. It’s a nice and convenient feature sometimes, I’m sure. But necessary? Probably not. Tangible interaction is good for things that make the jobs that are 100% necessary easier, not more convenient, per se.

On the flip, the other article, “An Interactive Arts Space Reinvents Itself For The Post-Covid Era,” is the perfect example of intangible interaction. The Interactive Arts Space had to face the full force of COVID, as all of the world did. But, interacting with art sometimes requires a bit of touch. This studio was able to work around that barrier and still create an experience for each user that had the same effect that interactive art projects should have on people. The difference between tangible and intangible is a sense of touch, but more so in these examples, about solving a problem that is necessary to solve, not solving it for convenience’s sake.

A great example of tangible and intangible interactions I immediately think of is my phone! In terms of being tangible, I touch it all the time — in fact, that’s about the only way I can use it, is by touching it. But in terms of being intangible, it’s what the touches do that matters. I’m touching the same screen, sometimes in the same spots, and each touch is doing something completely different in a digital space. So, in the same way at the same time, my phone is an interaction that takes place that’s both tangible and intangible simultaneously.