With two and half millennia of philosophical ponderings since Plato and Aristotle, several hundred years of modern science, and perhaps one hundred and fifty years of near modern engineering – surely we know sufficient about the physical for ordinary product design?

While this may be true of the physical properties themselves, it is not the fact for the way people interact with and rely on those properties. It is only when the nature of physicality is perturbed by the unusual and, in particular the digital, that it becomes clear what is and is not central to our understanding of the world.

The First International Workshop for Physicality was held in 2006 and run by Lancaster University. This provided the first link between PAIPR and the human-computer interaction lab at Lancaster University. The AHRC/EPSRC funded Design for the 21st Century Initiative funded Design for Physicality (DEPtH) project was the outcome.

DEPtH involves Steve Gill and Jo Hare from the PAIPR research group and Alan Dix and Devina Ramduny-Ellis from Lancaster University’s Infolab21. The DEPtH project has conducted a number of research activities and produced a number of publications. A book, Touch IT, will round off the two year project.


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