Designer | Artist UberStudio
Year 2013

Created by UserStudio, DIRTI for iPad is a physical interface for the iOS that uses Tapioca grains or anything else that’s semi-transparent and that you can mold, like vanilla ice cream for example to control content on the iOS. The user can interact with the iPad by moving the material around in a sand-blasted dish.

In this particular case, during the workshop at the Maison des Petits of the CENTQUATRE in Paris, the focus was on linking the movements within DIRTI to graphics and sounds produced by a specially-brewed iPad app where the app’s Graphical User Interface is the sand. The sound part of the app was created and developed by researcher Diemo Schwarz from IRCAM with whom the DIRTI concept has evolved from the start, and sounds were composed by sound designer Roland Cahen. Other iPad development, including the screens you see below was done using Cinder by Matthieu Savary.


There is a webcam right underneath the sand-blasted glass dish that contains the interaction material, be it tapioca or vanilla ice cream. That camera is plugged into a Raspberry Pi which besides seeing what is happening above, also tracks the movements and the density of the interaction material and transmit this information to the iPad.

Great and a fun new way to “move” kids away from screen and explore new ways of interaction with already familiar digital devices, in this case the iPad.