Tangible Earth is the world's first interactive digital globe invented and designed by Earth Literacy Program. It dynamically represents various aspect of the earth, such as real-time weather (updated hourly through the internet), earthquake and tsunami, climate variations and global warming progression, biodiversity, trans-national circulation of air pollutants, etc.
Tangible Earth was demonstrated in the GAR 2011 launching event held by UNISDR on May 25, 2011 in Tokyo at United Nation University, and the Global Platform for Disaster Reduction in Geneva (May 21~23, 2013).
"Tearoom Earth" by five "Tangible Earth" is exhibited in G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit International Media Center (IMC) Environmental Showcase (July 5-10, 2008).
- Tangible Earth demonstration at Smithsonian National Design Museum "Cooper-Hewitt" NY (by Shinichi Takemura)
Tangible Earth exhibition at Toyako G8 Summit(2008)
Tangible Earth demonstration by Takemura, in the book "Designing Media" (by Bill Moggridge: Director of Cooper-Hewitt Museum):
This globe is the first interactive digital globe. You can spin it freely with your hands, you can use a magnifying glass pointer to observe any region of the planet, and search through local information. (Regrettably, the magnifying glass function has been disabled in this presentation.) The globe's diameter, 1.28m, is 1/10 millionth scale of the planet, so for example, the atmosphere (the 10,000m troposphere) presents as 1mm thick. Given that the distance from the Earth to the Moon is 380,000km, one can imagine that a basketball floating some 38m away and experience the Earth in a cosmic context. It is in this sense that we use the word "tangible" for this medium.
Its workings consist of a projector fitted with fish-eye lens to deform the images appropriately, as well as pressure sensors to detect the movements of hands spinning the globe, which are constantly rendered by a computer to project on its transparent surface. In this way, this "tangibility" is a synthesis of analog and digital elements. It's near real-time aspects are provided through the Internet, seeking and updating the latest weather data, including cloud movements and such hourly. This "Tangible Earth" was first released in prototype in 2002, and exhibited to great acclaim in 2005 at the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. Just as Buckminster Fuller predicted the necessity a half-century ago, for a computer system capable of monitoring the planet in real-time, suggesting that it would change the nature of the political process in nations and international organizations which facilitate cooperation between them, this kind of informational-centered political vision is actually quite close to realization.
The "Tangible Earth" is of course interesting in a stand-alone configuration, but could also function as synchronized terminals, sharing data from servers on a network. In such an application "Tangible Earth" networks could be installed across the planet to be used for global education programs, or as we find here, could be used to communicate meteorological conditions around the planet, or be made to dance in synchronized spinning.
"A globe connected around the planet, turned together by brothers and sisters educating each other" is the vision that inspires the "Tangible Earth". We want to surpass the idea of just being a near real-time interactive tool for studying the Earth's environment, and function as a public platform for developing planetary sensibilities, in an era that where such understandings are nothing if not critical.
ReferencesTangible Earth Demo Movie
Good Design 2005 Gold Prize
for Tangible Earth