So, I finally re-discovered the name of the touch musical device I mentioned in class yesterday (the one on which you can place/move around different objects to create musical tracks): REACTABLE. Since I personally don't know much about "phicons," I can't say much about this machine's relevance to this concept; however, it is well within the range of "tangible user interfaces" and centers around the tracking/programming of actions (sounds) based on fiducial markers. Check out this basic demo to see its elementary functionality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h-RhyopUmc. If you want to take a look at actual production potential, there's a bunch of YouTube clips available, including: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgy1S8qymx0. Obviously, this is geared towards the electronic scene, but I thought it'd be something cool to share as tangible UIs relate well to some of the computing perspectives we looked at during our lecture yesterday.
Another interesting item I wanted to bring up in this post looks at the intersection of mobile computing and the psychological practice of "homing" (related of course to the sensation/feeling of "being at home"). What an article I read this morning highlights is that there are many psychological phenomena for which mobile computing could be adapted in order to enhance overall life experiences. For example, in this instance of "homing," there is a tendency for humans to "differentiate" based on location (some people have a house in an urban area and one in a more secluded, beach/suburban/rural area -- they leave different wardrobes in each to enforce "differentiation" of their various "homes"); what this rather directly entails in mobile computing is really context-dependent programming and functionality. How can devices and software be more tailored to the physical contexts in which we find and establish ourselves?
Like the REACTable example, this idea of complementing psychological "tendencies" with systems like mobile computing is one that I think we will see slowly evolve, and it has clear implications for practitioners of HCI and UX.