Something old, something new

Today a group of us took a quick trip from NYC, spending the day at the MIT Media Lab to brainstorm with potential collaborators there on ideas for future interfaces.

Interestingly, the tools that were most useful for brainstorming were scribbling on whiteboards and scribbling on flip-charts. Unlike computer-based media, these old-fashioned “stupid” tools allowed us to freely sketch and draw any idea that came into our heads, instantaneously. These tools did not need any “model” of what we were talking about, because we all were building the model together in our heads.

I guess one take-away lesson here is that until we actually invent some better futuristic new media, the old ones are still the best. And maybe another lesson is that those future media may only improve things if they manage to retain some of the “stupid” (and therefore protean) qualities that make the old analog media so wonderfully flexible.

2 Responses to “Something old, something new”

  1. Manooh says:

    There are some interesting projects that try to combine old and new, like the NiCE Discussion Room done at my old university:

    But yeah, I agree, they are nowhere near to replacing good old pen&paper – especially when it comes to cost and portability :-)

  2. admin says:

    Yes, I know that work. It is a wonderful project!!!

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