USB, WiFi, Webcams...these technologies are all making increasingly creative interfaces possible. On the output side of things, here is a toy rabbit that uses WiFi to wiggle its ears when you have email. For input, here's a demonstration of using play-doh to control the playback speed of a video.
This reminds me of Durrell Bishop's marble answering machine (Ctrl+F and search for "marble") , in which marbles (real, physical marbles) are used to inform the user how many messages they have and to, by dropping the marbles into a hole, playback the messages.
This trend of using physical, tangible interfaces to control non-physical events (email, video, voice messages) is really exciting, especially for those who don't want to let computer programmers and graphic designers have all the fun.