Digital collections through card play

Deal Me In, by Simone Pia, is targeted at those “left behind by technology” by substituting for the computer keyboard a tangible user interface (TUI) and metaphor familiar to seniors: playing cards.

In the Deal Me In box:
– plastic discs like poker chips, each representing a month or year,
– two decks of cards resembling playing cards,
– a foldable mat, rather like a blackjack table.


One deck of cards is used to collect photos into albums; the other, to modify the albums, print the photos, etc. Cards and chips are all RFID-tagged.

Plug the mat into your computer: your photo-management application reconfigures itself for the Deal Me In interface. Then place cards on the mat to indicate your intentions. For instance, putting down an album card displays its associated photos one at a time; placing a print card next to it prints the photo currently displayed. Connecting your camera to the mat automatically downloads its photos and displays thumbnails of them all; putting down a blank album card ‘captures’ those photos: you now have a new album. If you loose an album card, put down two chips, together representing a month and a year: this lets you recreate album cards from that period.