A Cushion Keyboard

How can we bring physical touch reminiscent of human warmth
to digital communication, especially now as we rely on it more than ever?

How to interact with ‘Croissant, A Cushion Keyboard’, installation, 2020

Solo, Interaction Design,
System Design

June 2020

Hardware : Arduino Nano 33 BLE, Conductive Fabric / Thread
Software : JavaScript, HTML, CSS

Croissant is a fully functional ‘cushion keyboard’.
You can type via intimate interactions such as
squeezing, tickling, hugging, and by resting on it.

While electronics usually require standardised tactile interaction
and tend to focus on the efficiency of them Croissant has a soft mechanism
that enables us to explore alternative values in our interactions with
computers: softness, slowness, subtleness, vulnerability, embodiment.

Through research with fabric sensor technology,
I developed a customized matrix sensor with soft materials
to get pressure data. By embedding the sensor in a croissant shaped 
cushion, which I created, I prototyped a cushion keyboard, Croissant.

The visual appearance of the resulting type corresponds to
the touch interaction: letter appears wavy, they change colour,
and they fade away after a few seconds.

The time required to type on the cushion keyboard and
the soft, tactile interaction reminds us of the other possibilities
for relating to one another, besides efficiency: taking care,
taking time, being responsive, affectionate, empathetic.

Croissant wants to propose a potential role of
the soft-touch experience in enabling a caring
and empathetic communication in cyberspace.

As COVID 19 has escalated and deprived us of touch,
we rely more on cyberspace to communicate with each other
than ever before. So,'touch experience' should be considered
in any new forms of interaction in times of isolation.

Croissant has a vision to encourage us to engage more closely
with digital communication by letting us reach into cyberspace
and explore it with our sense of touch.

About form

The croissant shaped cushion embraces the body
and guides us towards an intuitive touch experience.
It allows us to lean our arms or body on it while we are typing.
When you hug Croissant our arms fit snugly in the curves of it.

How to my friends interact with ‘Croissant’, 2020

Even though I can not help you to touch Croissant yourself,
I hope this video helps you to experience with Croissant indirectly 
and creates a discussion about how we engage in, feel, and
empathize with others in a digital environment.