What is palpable computing

IT in everything from the kitchen toaster to the doctor’s stethoscope.
Every day more and more devices and IT-systems enter our lives. ‘Palpable computing’ is a new concept for computing that will make technologies a lot easier to understand, use and construct on-the-fly.

Everyone who has tried to connect a mobile phone with a laptop knows how difficult it can be.
Imagine then, what will happen when pervasive computing becomes a reality in a few years; a potential chaos of devices and systems that are tiresome to interact with or the opposite, continuously interact on their own.

In the healthcare sector the consequences of hard-to-use technologies are particularly worrying. Here the recovery, or even lives, of people can depend on the stability and performance of IT.

Doing pervasive computing right

Palpable computing is essentially about doing pervasive computing right. It is about designing IT that is easy to grasp modify and understand for users. Palpable computing moves beyond pervasive:

  • Pervasive computing acknowledges that the user benefits from technologies being small and invisible in use. The philosophy is to put the user in control by providing sufficient amounts of visibility. As a user you can have a device that is visible in the sense that it is aesthetically pleasing and fun to use.
  • At the same time the user should be able to inspect breakdowns and errors on the particular device and be offered tools on how to find out what went wrong and how to correct the error.

How to explore palpability

  • The areas have been carefully selected and provide the researchers with a wide array of settings where palpability is a concern.
  • All application areas are characterized by the use of a growing number of digital devices and a need for technologies that work better together and are easier to comprehend.

Application areas

Who is behind?

Palpable computing is the invention of scientists and professionals from the European research project PalCom.
They are developing a design concept for palpable computing.
The concept includes an open software architecture and a toolbox with software components and design tutorials.  

Partners and people

Last Modified: 16 March 2007, © PalCom