Media Matrix


The Media Matrix project draws on ideas from distributed, embedded, and parallel computing in order to address the creation and management of databases composed of large collections of physical objects (e.g. mini DVs in a rack or books in a library). The project's primary goal, however, is to serve as both embodiment and test bed for ideas in distributed, embedded, and ubiquitous computing. The Media Matrix concept drew inspiration from concepts in the Tangible Media Group (TMG) and the Object-Based Media Group's Paintable Computing project. Collaborators Josh Lifton and TMG's Jay Lee initiated the Media Matrix project as a final project for Ted Selker's Industrial Design Intelligence class offered Fall 2000. It has since been carried on by Josh in the Responsive Environments Group (ResEnv). Related work includes Pushpin Computing in ResEnv and TouchCounters in TMG. The Media Matrix was presented as an interactive poster at CHI 2001 in Seattle, WA. The next stage in this project involves converting over to battery power, eliminating the need of the powered shelf system. Each unit will consume under a microamp in sleep mode. A special coded "flashlight" can be beamed at any unit, causing it to wake up and read the ID sent in the optical beam. This ID can be compared to the local ID on the object and/or transmitted to neighboring objects in the matrix, allowing the requested object to be rapidly located.