All Things Digital
Digital information and its digital processing have transformed the modern world. Today, there is the real physical world and there is the parallel, mirrored virtual world of digital information. There is now a huge repository of digital stuff and it is growing exponentially. Design which has its roots in working with tangible physical media such as wood, clay, textiles has expanded its interests to contemporary digital media of graphics, video and the interactivity enabled by a large variety of displays, keyboard, touch screens, and pads. Srishti's information technology discipline is about designing with the digital viewed from the digital artifacts and the digital machines which process them. It is about the technical foundations, software and hardware, that make the digital world work. It is about the digital sandbox of tools that enable the creation of new digital stuff and new ways of interacting through the digital. It is about computer languages that are used to control the machines enabling new manipulations of digital information.
Information technology is clustered around several domains of information that have different challenges and tool sets.
The first domain of interest is the physical world. This is about bridging between the physical world of things and the digital world of bits and bytes. It is the world of sensors that generate data by measuring and controlling. It is the world of small computing machines embedded close to objects of interest such as rivers and streams, or rain and clouds, or stones and earth or man made objects like clothing, automobiles or buildings. It also focuses on the technologies that network and connect these many objects aggregating the information into larger sets. It focuses on the representations that provide frameworks to interrelate the information of these objects, such as spacial mapping.
Webs of Information
A second domain of interest is the powerful connecting, accessing and interacting by people with diverse collections of information - Mobile devices and desktop computers are connected through networks to the huge diversity of information, Digital information is being served up to display clients, systems of social interaction enabled by many individuals connecting etc. Information and interactivity is being serviced on the go to mobile clients. Applications enable commercial activity. Web based interactivity for games and entertainment. And the emotive computing made possible through this
Systems of Information
Another domain of interest is the formation of large collections of data and the analysis of that data to derive new value. Data is increasingly collected through physical computing and the webs of information which have unlimited potential for discovering new insights and interventions which are the basis of solutions that were not imaged before. With these large sets of data there is the unique challenge of value created in presentation or infographics. Coupled with these collections of often personal data is the challenge of protecting individuals from harm.
Media, Audio and Video
Digitally encoded media presents another domain for the designer to explore. New forms of composition, new modulations of what is captured, new layers of expression and meaning applied. The particular interest is going beyond what has already been discovered and formalized into applications to the creating of new possibilities. Computer languages enable the unpacking and manipulating of this data.
Three Dimensional Information
Digital information architected to model the three dimensions of space enable many directions of exploration. Image capture and image reproduction has enabled a whole new domain of design.
Digital printing and manufacturing has enabled a new domain of production. Increasingly sophisticated analysis of this data has enabled capabilities of detection and solutions based on meaning inferred in the detection.
The Information Machine
From the beginning of digital computing, the imagination has been captured by every increasing levels of capability, both physical and intellectual, built into a single machine. Robotics are the expression of the aggregate of that capability - Levels of sensing, video and audio, Levels of manipulating with mechanical arms, Levels of motion through motors and wheels, Levels of intelligence necessary to coordinate the sensing and the manipulating etc.
A Digital Sandbox
The discipline of information technology at Srishti, is supported by a digital sandbox. The sandbox is populated with physical hardware and software tools of the domains of interest. Some of the studio is in a physical location. The location has image capture devices, 3D printing machines, embedded computers, sensors, a variety of displays and io boxes. Much of the studio is appropriately in the virtual world through an online playground for creating services, developing software, creating data stores, and collaborating.
Typical Projects in Information Technology
1. Design and develop a working social network.
2. Air and water quality sensor networks
3. Electron microscope from a web camera
4. Fractals in printing jewelry
- Designers with a strong technology understanding are in large demand in high tech industry. They take jobs as interaction designers and interaction engineers. They become members of R&D teams along with engineers and business analysts.
- Entrepreneurs. By coupling design with the skills of implementation, the individual is strongly enabled to take their ideas into business.