I’ve seen “Physical computing” described as making computers interact with the physical world (sensors and buttons, etc), but I’m curious if computing tasks themselves can be shaped into a physical form and speed that’s aligned for direct human interaction. Like lifting a block from one place to another to transfer a file. It’s purposely inefficient, but directly relatable.
I do not want to wear goggles to enter a virtual space, I want the exact opposite.

@tendigits I wonder if transferring a file is a good benchmark action for physical computing. Sometimes I feel we are trapped on what a computer is today, or rather on the promise of what computers will be tomorrow.

If you look from certain angles, the biochemical process happening at cellular level can be considered computation. If you'd scale up a cpu so you can see its operation, is that more physical computing?

I tend to think visual reasoning, cellular automata and spatial programing languages could let computation processes be more physical. Not by making processes visible but by changing how and what to compute.

@murilove I agree, transferring a file is weak example, and trapped in the early computing metaphors too.
I’m curious if you have some examples in mind of how visual reasoning, cellular automata and spatial programing languages could be useful in a physical computing way? I’m intrigued!


@tendigits I'm particularly interested in wordless programming languages and in my search for references, I found both SPLAT and Bitpict to be interesting ways to think about the problem of computing through spacial/geometrical transformations.

- direct.mit.edu/isal/proceeding
- deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstre
- www-ui.is.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~tak

I have made myself a small cellular automata programming enviroment called "color code" that is an experiment with those ideas: colorcode2.bananabanana.me

In more practical terms, if you'd have a celullar automata running inside of an arduino, you could read, process and output data by drawing a wireworld circuitry or developing a more compact and specific rule set.

Pixels would map to memory locations that could be mapped to either pulse width modulation on general purpose pins or analog levels.

The underlying algorithm of color code and bitpict are so simple that they could be implemented mechanically or chemically.

@murilove this is wonderful and dense - thank you for sharing! I'll be digging into this and adding it to a list of resources that I'm collecting on the subject.

@tendigits Oh! Sorry for the dense dump! I think I get over excited every time I talk about it! haha 😂

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