Entrevista Maximiliano Pena


Hi there. Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your name, where are you from, how do you spend your time?

Hi! I´m Maximiliano Pena and right now I live in La Plata, Argentina. I graduated in Multimedia Design not so long ago, and I usually spent my time doing some freelance work as a web designer. Besides that I like to practice drawing, learning new stuff—currently I’m teaching myself Portuguese—and I like to work on some DIY electronic projects now and then too.

I’ve always thought that I ended up into interaction design thanks to my flying lessons, it always surprised me how the controls on the plane somehow were always available, always at reach but never getting in the way of the task you were doing.

What are some of your favorite sci-fi interfaces (Other than in Oblivion)? (And, of course, why?)


In Guardians of the Galaxy I was amazed by the holographic projector that Peter uses at the start of the movie. As he was walking through that ruined planet, he pointed the device at one specific spot and it showed him a whole city and its inhabitants. Somehow the device was able to play holographic video recordings from a way distant past. But not only that, it could also track and place those recordings exactly where they took place, of all places on an entire planet.


Tron: Legacy has a lot going for it but the one that really caught my eye was the hologram of Quorra´s DNA. While on board the solar sailer—which is awesome too—Flynn was trying to find the damaged code inside Quorra. The way the hologram looked and behaved really gave an organic feel to it, as Flynn was interacting with something more than a mere program. It got me thinking about affordances beyond shape and around interactions too.

Why did you decide to participate in the group review of Oblivion for your first scifiinterfaces review?

I’m a frequent reader and I had the idea of writing something for a while now. I looked into the Contribute! page on the blog a couple of times, but college kept me busy back then. So later when I saw the nerdsourcing post I jumped right in. I loved the idea of discussing opinions around interaction design with other people around the world, and to have something that I could show to other people at the end of that. And from the four movies listed there Oblivion was my favourite, so there was my vote.

What was your biggest surprise when doing the review?

It took me a while to realize that some interfaces were meant not for one but for many different users and scenarios too. Sometimes these interfaces acted as a contact point between users, some other times the same interface or device had to fit different purposes. So I found myself writing something that just made sense for one user, and later in the review I would realize those same design changes would make another user´s goals much more difficult to achieve. In a way I was saying that the interface was flawed, when actually it was just making a tradeoff.

What else are you working on? (Alternately: What other awesomeness should we know about you?

Something that I’m working on is an improved version of a gesture-driven desktop lamp that I made as my thesis project last year. I’m moving away from the mechanical parts—as those were somewhat cumbersome—and making it work based entirely on electronic components. If that does well enough, maybe I could be doing some marketable product.

Other than that I’m thinking about translating some of the reviews I made here into Spanish, just to spread la palabra. 🙂

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