Smart IxD Lab


Thoughts, observations and experimentation on interaction by: Smart Design

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At Smart Interaction Lab we are always on the lookout for new tools that make it easy for objects, sensors and people to communicate with one another. A while back we featured the breakout.js by our pal and former lab-mate Jeff Hoefs, and last week we visited our neighbors at the Rockwell Group Lab to check out their new toolkit called Spacebrew.

Spacebrew is “a┬ádynamically re-routable software toolkit for choreographing interactive spaces”, or in other words, an awesome and simple way to connect interactive things to one another. Every element that you hook up to the system is identified as either a subscriber (reading data in) or a publisher (pushing data out). Data is in one of three standardized formats: a boolean (true/false), a number range (0-1023) or a string. Once these elements are set up, you can use a visual switchboard of sorts to connect or disconnect publishers and subscribers.

We checked out the system during a recent Friday-night hackathon where we used things like heart-rate monitors and browser buttons as inputs (publishers) and light strips, table lamps, motors and a robotic hand (affectionately called “Clawdia”) as outputs (subscribers). With Spacebrew, we could easily hook up the heart rate monitor to the table lamp, and then disconnect it to see what would happen if we had the same input controlling a motor. Fun!

Here’s a short video of Clawdia being controlled by a mobile phone interface.

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Posted by: Carla Diana

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