Instructiblocks: Designing with ambiguous physical-digital models

Peter Bennett, Mike Fraser, Duncan Boa, Ben Hicks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we present InstructiBlocks, a system for constructing ambiguously defined physical-digital models, with the role of supporting the task of early stage ideation and design space exploration. Construction blocks tagged with RFID chips allow digital labelling with the build instructions. As each label only gives partial information on how to build the model it is possible for the designer to create a wide variety of models around the particular constraints that are present in both the physical blocks available and the digital instructions contained within them. In this context ambiguity is enabled by the digital instructions and there is no master copy, rather the state of the physical-digital model is determined by the interplay between the user, the physical blocks and digital instructions. In this paper we ask: Can an ambiguously defined model lead to greater design ideation and design space exploration? Are there benefits to 'humanactuated' interfaces, where a physical-digital model is constructed manually?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTEI 2017 - Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346764
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017
Event11th ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2017 - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 20 Mar 201723 Mar 2017


Conference11th ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2017


  • Computer Aided Design.
  • Tangible User Interface

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