What kind of tools would you need to make a functional interactive prototype of a PDA, a mobile phone or a media player in 30 minutes? This question had been answered by Scott Klemmer from University of Stanford, California. He and his student have built d.tools, a easy to use prototype toolset. d.tools is a hardware and software system that enables designers to rapidly prototype the bits (the form) and the atoms (the interaction model) of physical user interfaces in concert. d.tools was built to support design thinking rather than implementation tinkering. With d.tools, designers place physical controllers (e.g., buttons, sliders), sensors (e.g., accelerometers), and output devices (e.g., LEDs, LCD screens) directly onto form prototypes, and author their behavior visually in our software workbench.
d.tools provides plug-and-play prototyping of hardware components by making each component smart and networking the components on a common bus. For graphics display on the small screens commonly found in information appliances, d.tools includes an LCD display which can be connected to a PC graphics card with video output.
More info can be found at the d.tools webpage.