I was inspired by some of the work that Smart Design showed during their
DUX'05 studio tour to renew my efforts to sell the idea of prototyping
physical interactions to some of TEAGUE's clients (we work primarily on
non-desktop consumer electronics products). Typically, we build high-end
appearance models to represent industrial design, and, separately, build
interactive simulations that run on a touch screen. This works well enough
for evaluation purposes in many cases, but, clearly, merging the hardware
and software models would result in higher quality feedback. Years ago, in
school (Stanford product design/HCI), I did a few of these projects by
hacking up keyboards and game devices to cannibalize their buttons, but now
it seems that there are a number of open source and commercial toolkits
available to lower the cost/increase the speed of physical interaction
prototyping. My question is: can anyone with experience with a particular
set of tools make a recommendation? My criteria are as follows:
1. Must work easily with Macromedia Director and/or Flash. These are our
standard tools, and we are not particularly motivated to learn something
new, like Java/Processing.
2. Must cost less than $500 for a typical hardware/software prototype (just
including the input hardware and the software).
3. Must work on a PC platform.
4. Would be nice if sensors could be networked/wireless.
Some of the links that I've dug up this afternoon include: