Experimental Interface Lab invents speculative art and design experiences that leverage emerging and novel digital technologies.

Colorigins — a tactile color mixing and matching game

A new way to play with color

Colorigins presents a softly gamified approach to learning elements of subtractive color theory. The game objective is to accurately match a randomly generated target color by mixing it from a set of source (conventional primary and secondary) colors. Throughout the process of color mixing, players gain experience with concepts such as value, saturation, tints, shades, tones, complements, chromatic neutrals, and the relative visual strengths of particular colors.

Designed for Sifteo Cubes

The amazing Sifteo Cubes platform helps to create the innovative interactive experience that is Colorigins. The Sifteo base stores and runs software built for the platform, connecting wirelessly to up to twelve 1.7 inch square cubes. The cubes each feature a touch sensitive LCD, an accelerometer, and proximity sensors so that the cubes know when and where they are in contact with one another. For more information, check out Sifteo's site.

Advanced color mixing

Accurately simulating the subtractive mixture of colors digitally isn't as straightforward as one might think. This is because the visual appearance of two colors cannot alone be used to fully predict the apparent color of their mixture. Colorigins uses an advanced color mixing algorithm that relies on spectral reflectance values to create a perceptually authentic subtractive color mixing experience.

More to come!

While Colorigins is best played with a full set of 12 cubes, this can unfortunately be expensive. No worries, however—the Lab is working on developing a version of Colorigins that works with just 3 cubes. The Lab is also preparing a set of color theory worksheets to be used alongside Colorigins in the classroom. Look for this content here soon.

Interested in testing Colorigins?

The Experimental Interface Lab is looking for art and design educators (in either K–12 or higher education) who are interested in testing and reporting on the integration of Colorigins into their classrooms. A small number of sets of Sifteo Cubes are available for limited-term lending. If you think you might be interested, please fill out this form.

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More info

Experimental Interface Lab is the practice-led research entity of Brad Tober, an assistant professor in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Brad holds a Master of Design (MDes) from York University (Toronto), a BFA in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a BA in mathematics from the University at Buffalo.

The Lab's speculative approach to design (a manifestation of pure research) recognizes that forms of and methodologies for contemporary practice that spans design and technology are best developed through fundamentally flexible and exploratory processes.

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