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In August of 1961, fabled mathematicians Edward O. Thorp and Claude Shannon, of MIT, walked into a Las Vegas casino. They intended to try their luck at roulette, a game in which players bet on where a whirling ball will land after falling from an outer stationary track onto an inner spinning wheel. But they weren't typical gamblers. To explore more diverse types of virtual touch, Harrison does what he calls “time-machine research.” In a bright, airy laboratory that he has adorned with obsolete PCs and hand-welded sculptures made of discarded cameras and cellphones, he and his students build prototypes of possible future interfaces by hacking or cobbling together existing technologies. From a table cluttered with to-go cups, cables, laptops, watch parts, and mannequin hands, he produces an iPad.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 6 )