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The Mud Tub: Go ahead. Play in the mud. Get your hands dirty. You won't get in Trouble. Promise.

Tom Gerhardt’s Mud Tub looks like a ridiculously fun Human Computer Interface. And, in fact, you’re actually encouraged to make a beautiful mess…

The Mud Tub is an experimental organic interface that allows people to control a computer while playing in the mud.

computer, meet mud — By sloshing, squishing, pulling, punching, etc, in a tub of mud (yes, wet dirt), users control games, simulators, and expressive tools; interacting with a computer in a new, completely organic, way. Born out of a motivation to close the gap between our bodies and the digital world, the Mud Tub frees the traditional computer interaction model of it’s[sic] rigidity, allowing humans to use their highly developed sense of touch, and creative thinking skills in a more natural way. 

Be sure to check out the Mud Tub video & the Mud Tub + Lumarca video to get the idea. (In my opinion, the Lumarca video gives a better sense of the mud-based interface than does the overview video.)
A few thoughts and observations:
  1. Awesome. I mean seriously. It’s hard to beat playing in the mud.
  2. Tom casts the Mud Tub as an experiment in art and design. Though he uses the word “play” here and there, he doesn’t concentrate on its playfulness. Certainly, of course, I would highlight that aspect (as I am here). But, it goes to show how complementary play is to so many disciplines — especially those of the creative persuasion.
  3. The Mud Tub is a very literal incarnation of the Digital Sandbox idea I wrote about previously.

Mud Tub users… Note the smile.

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