Pinwheels: Visualizing Information Flow in an Architectural Space

Hiroshi Ishii, Sandia Ren, Phil Frei


We envision that the architectural spaces we inhabit will become an interface between humans and online digital information. We have been designing ambient information displays to explore the use of kinetic physical objects to present information at the periphery of human perception.This paper reports the design of a large-scale Pinwheels installation made of 40 computer-controlled pinwheel units in a museum context. The Pinwheels spin in a "wind of bits" that blows from cyberspace. The array of spinning pinwheels presents information within an architectural space through subtle changes in movement and sound.We describe the iterative design and implementation of the Pinwheels, and discuss design issues.

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