Tangible Interfaces

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  • Tangible Interfaces

  • ReadingsHiroshi Ishii, Brygg Ullmer, Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits and Atoms, Proceedings of CHI 97, March 1997, pp. 234-241. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/258549.258715 Better figures here: http://www.acm.org/sigchi/chi97/proceedings/paper/hi.htm

    Roy Want, Kenneth Fishkin, Anuj Gujar, Beverly Harrison, Bridging Physical and Virtual Worlds with Electronic Tags, Proceedings of CHI 99, May 1999, pp. 370-377. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/302979.303111

  • More ReadingsJun Rekimoto, Brygg Ullmer, Haruo Oba, DataTiles: A Modular for Mixed Physical and Graphical Interactions, Proceedings of CHI 01, March 2001, pp. 269-276. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/365024.365115

    Jun Rekimoto, Eduardo Sciammarella, ToolStone: Effective Use of the Physical Manipulation Vocabularies of Input Devices, Proceedings of UIST 00, Nov. 2000, pp. 109-117. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/354401.354421

  • Supplemental ReadingsJohn Underkoffler, Hiroshi Ishii, Urp: A Luminous-Tangible Workbench for Urban Planning and Design, Proceedings of CHI 99, May 1999, pp. 386-393. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/302979.303114

    Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, 1869, English translation by Rosemary Edmonds, Viking Press, 1982. http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/war_and_peace/

  • MotivationDesire to remove divide between electronic and physical worldsBring benefits of computation (the virtual world) beyond confines of the screen, to the rest of lifeUbiquitous computing (Weiser)Augmented realityMaking crossing between bits and atoms seamless (or at least a lot easier)Put information in our hands in a rather literal way

  • Motivation (cont)Spatial thinkingConcreteLike sketching: fluid, natural, dexterous actions(Graspable) physical objects provide strong affordances (much closer to real affordances instead of virtual)Different sets of thinking / reasoning skillsUsed to say visual specification for visual thingsE.g., UI layoutspatial specification for spatial things

  • In Tangible Bits paperIshii Promotes Three ConceptsInteractive surfacesTransform (all?) surfaces into an interface(Really nothing special about surfaces except that they are convenient to work with at this stage)Coupling of bits to atomsCouple information associated with (relevant to) physical objects to the objectsProvide direct access to info from objectRight information is always at handAmbient mediaAbility to use the periphery of attention and move between the periphery and center of attention

  • Prior Work Examples (From Ishiis Tangible Bits)DigitalDeskWellner, EuroParcDesk with top-projected videoCamera tracking from aboveDigitizing tabletMicrophoneOn surface

  • DigitalDesk (cont)Interact with real paperDigitize with camera (eventually) and recognize action gesturesAugmented with video from aboveUsed microphone to detect tapsDifficult to detect contact via video alone

  • Prior Work Examples (From Ishiis Tangible Bits)Marble Answering MachineDurrell Bishop, RCAMarbles represent callsPut marble in indentation to play messageAnother spot to call backLive Wire Natalie Jeremijenko, Xerox PARCString turned slightly on each Ethernet packetMaking invisible bits visible/tangible

  • Ishiis work in Tangible Bits papermetaDeskRear projected video (the bits)Physical objects tracked on top (the atoms)Manipulating physical objs affects the bits (not rev)

  • metaDesk

  • Applications of MetaDeskTangible GeospaceMap manipulation via phicons, etc.Two phicons (representing particular places) allow very easy manipulations of position, orientation, and scale of the mapSolid Plexiglas shape Active lens gives 3D viewsLCD display on a tracked armPassive lens gives augmented or filtered 2d viewsClear lens Change the projected display under the lens!

  • MetaDesk IssuesGood demo, but not a real applicationSolid and compelling apps for tangible interaction still somewhat of an issue, overallSeems very compelling, but is their really a big benefitSeems somewhat domain specific (see URP & ToonTown later)Do I have to have a new physical object for every command/parameter/whatnot?Loosing some of the extreme flexibility of the virtual worldBig research issues: How do we find the right mix of physical / virtual to get good properties of both?

  • AmbientRoomVideo

  • AmbientRoomInteresting things here:Ambient displaysAesthetics importantA start on user defined mappingsDoes this scale?What about all the hidden state (cant see what youve speced)?Physical containers for information

    IssuesHamster awareness !?!Again, missing a compelling application

  • TransBoardAugmented whiteboardTracked pens, front projected imageLooking at surfaces which absorb information from the physical worldCollaborage we saw earlier (but done later) was similar but probably more compelling

  • Additional Apps for MetaDeskIlluminating LightOptical bench simulationI/O bulb conceptNew color bar tracking (from above)


  • Additional Apps for MetaDesk URP Urban planning app

    Physical objects cast virtual shadows and reflectionsWind flow simulationTools for making measurements

  • Finding a good mix of physical and virtual: DataTiles (Rekimoto)

    LCD with pen inputTransparent tilesMay have preprinted information May have groves affording particular interactionsSit on pedestals Serve as ID readers for tiles

  • DataTilesAppearance is combination of display and pre-printedGrooves afford particular actions (labeled as to purpose)

  • Interesting tilesContainersCopy virtual objects, settings, etc. to a tileSet aside until laterParametersSearch times with parametersDynamic query on (preprinted) map tileGrooves for sliders

  • Interesting tiles (cont)ActionsPrintGeneric print tileSet next to object, join with gesture, fill in print dialogTime machineShow previous states of another tileClock grooves with appropriate dynamic feedbackRemote interaction tilesShared drawing surface with remote participants

  • Physical / virtual or generic / concrete balanceNote that a range of interaction techniques are possible along scale of very concrete and pre-determined to very generic Also static to dynamic and physical to virtualComposition mechanism allows fairly pre-determined tiles to have much more utilityGeneral lesson: simple actions + composition Each small and simpleLet combinatorics take over to give wide expressive range, but with (potentially) less overall complexity

  • Generally useful technology in this domain: Tagging objects

  • Tagging ObjectsSeveral technologies (see below) for tagging objects to enable sensing of identityObjects brought into proximity of special readerRange varies: room to a few cmReader determines a unique identifier for objectTypically a unique numberNote that 64 bits is probably enough to uniquely tag every individual object ever manufacturedevery CD, ever can of soup, every page of paper Even 32 bits goes a long way (4 billion unique IDs)96-128 bits is better (can partition ID space conveniently)

  • Fun with IDs A number of things you can do with an IDIf you have network connectivity (or can cache) at the reader then any identifiable object can have an arbitrary amount of data attached to itLook up the ID in a database to retrieve attached dataData can be general info, commands, parameters, anything, Attached object can be static or dynamicCan also do this with a local database if info is localObject can now be a surrogate for the dataArbitrary data (incl. arbitrary programs) very powerful

  • Identified Objects Can Act asContainerCan (appear to) put in, carry away, and (later/elsewhere) take out (arbitrary) dataUser IDCan serve to represent / identify a personContext IDCan serve to identify a place Can indicate the presence of a piece of equipmentProvide handle for accessing itE.g., walk into a room with a printer and get access to its queueActions to be performedSet of attributes / parameters / settings

  • ID TechnologiesPrinted Bar CodesRead by optical scannerLaser or otherUsually close contact, but can be done at a distanceTypical read error rates: 1 per 10,000Most common: UPC on all retail itemsMost common: 10 decimal digits + prefix & check digitsEnough for every kind of soup, but not every individual can

  • Bar Codes (cont)Can also store a lot more dataSee:PA vehicle registrationUPS maxicodeAdvantages of bar codesVery cheap (just print them with a printer)No battery needed for tagReliable, readers relatively cheapDisadvantagesRequires contact (and/or careful alignment)Only work on relatively flat/smooth surfacesUgly

  • Aside: Can get rid of UglinessXerox DataGlyph technology designed to look better Appears as a textured gray regionRelatively high densityAlso survives bad faxes and other distortions well

  • IR BeaconsEncode ID in pulses of (invisible) infrared light Same technology as TV remotes (cheap & easy)ID sent periodically (typically every few seconds)ApplicationsFixed beacons to indicate placeExample: HP CoolTown projectEmits URL of web page giving access to services (e.g., print queue for printer, or control of projector) in roomActive Badges identify location of a person

  • Other Interesting ID MechanismsContact tags, magnetic stripe, and smart cardsFor limited sets of objects: weight them0.1 gram resolution scales distinguish most objectsIssues with wear and tearMay want to augment with visionFingerprintsUser fingertips as data repositories (!)Virtually pick up arbitrary data, carry, and drop it.Another potential app: 10 actions for 1 button

  • RFID TagsProbably most generally useful technologyReader has a typically large co