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Adding Sensory Dimensions to Computing Jamie Zigelbaum


We interact with each other through Facebook, TV and iPhones—a world of pixels frozen behind a pane of glass. Jamie Zigelbaum, an interactive sculptor who works with contemporary materials, wants to break through that glass to better understand human interpretation and interaction.

“This whole digital world that we’re building around us is all accessed through gateways,” Zigelbaum explains, “and the interfaces for machines are the bridge and the bottleneck between how we communicate with each other and how we understand ourselves.”

After attending undergrad at Tufts, grad school at MIT and working with gestural interfaces in LA, Zigelbaum decided to continue his mission to cultivate the contemporary human experience.

“MP3s and video files and text documents and status updates—if you could feel those…how would that change the way we interact with the world?” Zigelbaum wondered. “If we could use more of our sense and our sensory experience, with computing, could that change how we understood it?”

In light of this question, Zigelbaum and his co-worker Marcelo Coehlo worked on a project called “Reach,” a series of robotic jewelry boxes. The goal was to create an extension of the human body. People standing outside a jewelry store could wave a hand in front of a window, which directed a spotlight. When that spotlight fell upon a box, it would open to reveal the gleaming gem inside, allowing people to interact with the jewelry in a way they never had before—from beyond the glass.

And that’s just the beginning.

This bold and innovative TEDxBeaconStreet talk will change the way you see the world you live in. With a passion for blending human connection and technology, Zigelbaum manages to make us question our humanity, look into the future, and see the meaning in the pixels.

Learn more about Jamie Zigelbaum’s work at jamiezigelbaum.com.