Alex Penman
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M.A.N.G.O. Labs, bringing you visions of a tactile future through provocative explorations.

M.A.N.G.O. Labs
This project was an exploration into tangible forms of interactions for Mixed Realities through the narrative of a fictional research group, M.A.N.G.O. Labs. We created a manifesto for the lab and their new idea of Haptification—translating the digital world into powerful, tactile experiences. Through this lens, we were able to go deep into the extremes of Augmented and Virtual Reality and test provocative, physical prototypes. It also provided our audience with a light-hearted and approachable project that allowed people to let their guards down while experiencing our interactions.

M.A.N.G.O. Labs is paving the way for a tactile future through in-house experiments.

VR as a Blindfold
In contrast to the traditional view of VR as a portal to immersive, fictional worlds, we wanted to explore the concept of VR acting as a blindfold. We were intrigued by the idea of the VR headset pulling people out of “conventional reality.”

With this in mind, we created three prototypes of “haptified” interactions for future apps in Virtual Reality. The idea was to go beyond translating existing screen-based interactions from the phone into the VR world, but rather push for more unconventional ways of communicating the core digital interactions. To test the interactions, we set them up in physical space. The room was then modeled in Unity and objects were placed in a way that made navigating the room both physically and virtually feel natural.

Use a fleshy mango to decide the fate of possible Tinder matches.

To interact with Tinder, users place their hand onto a slice of fresh mango attached to a slider. They move the slider left and right to indicate if the dislike or like someone. In virtual space, a 3D model of the person they are judging slides either to a trash can or a heart.

Scroll through your towering Instagram feed with a mechanical crank.

For Instagram, we set out to Haptify the very relatable task of endlessly scrolling through feeds. Participants are immediately faced with a towering wall of images which they can then scroll through using a crank attached to gear wheels. While the scale of the wall can feel daunting, it also sparks some curiosity in the user to explore the interaction.

Feel the atmospheric conditions of desired locations with the weather app.

The weather app’s purpose in this project was to bring in senses of touch in a passive way. We attempted to achieve this by stimulating senses on the back of the person's hand as they interacted with our physical set up. The intention was to make it seem as though they were feeling the weather by placing their hand into an entirely different world.

Explore what technology could feel like with M.A.N.G.O. Labs.

The Haptification Manifesto
"The paradigm of Haptification was born out of the suffocating limitations placed on the sense of touch by modern technology. Our fingers are bored and tired, looking for new sensations across these glass surfaces. We want to feel. We want to experience. We want to touch. Interaction is never 'screen by default.' Think about how life was with touch. Question those who have removed touch from your senses. Think about how life can be with touch. We proclaim kinesthetic communication as the new medium of the human-device experience. We are devoted to creating natural interactions to enrich human experience with every reality."
Rina Shumylo
Julius Ingeman Breitenstein

Joshua Walton
James Tichenor

In-depth Medium Article