Buddy Bugs, by Susannah McPhail

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See this page for a paper and further details about buddy bugs.

Buddy Bugs is a physical user interface to Windows Instant Messenger, where people are represented by glass bugs on a leaf. A bug lights up and moves about depending on the status of the person it represents. Touching a bug initiates an instant messaging conversation.

The following two sketches are early ideas of buddy bugs. The third image is a picture of the actually system Susannah built.