Tangible Active Objects

The field of Tangible Interaction is a relatively new subfield of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and still much fundamental research has to be done. Actuated Tangible User Interface Objects (TUIOs) are a very new concept where much effort has to be put into interaction design and concepts and user experience mainly by conducting user studies.

The basic approach of Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) is to externalize digital data into the real world to make them naturally manipulable. Most table-top TUIs cannot easily represent dynamically changing scenarios, because they are not able to control physical properties of the used Tangible User Interface Objects (TUIOs), such as position and orientation. This is why we incorporated small-sized mobile platforms into our TUIOs, that we call Tangible Active Objects (TAOs).

Users are mostly not familiar with Human Interface Devices (HIDs) that actually move (beyond force feedback). Here our studies come into play. We investigate how users interact with such novel devices, how they perform in certain tasks and how they accept these new interaction concepts. For this we conducted user studies to measure performance, gather gestures made with the TAOs, and evaluate applications that implement our new concepts.

Latest News

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Dissertation is published Posted on 28 Feb 2016

Sometimes, it has been quite a journey, but now the dissertation about the TAOs is published and can be downloaded directly from this server . Alternatively, you can visit the publication server page of the Bielefeld University.

It summs up the previous publications on the TAOs and puts them into a larger context including background information on the reasearch field. We also present an overview on the hardware and software extensions and develop an initial set of design guidelines for developing surface-based acutated multi-modal tangible user interfaces.

For readers interested in a printed version, this can be ordered via Amazon Print on Demand .

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ScienceFair 2013 in Bielefeld Posted on 22 Nov 2013

Again, I participated in the ScienceFair. This time I was quite successful! Actually I won. ;-)

The first part of the price money (1000 EUR) I’m going to spend on a new mobile robot platform (a 3pi by Polulu) for my research and a set of new batteries for the existing TAOs. I think the rest will go into my upcoming relocation.

Press release (German): Sieger der [science fair] stehen fest

Currently I’m not going to publish poster, as the content is based on yet unpublished parts of my thesis.

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ScienceFair 2012 in Bielefeld Posted on 22 Nov 2012

Especially for my German fellows (German only):

Letzte Woche habe ich im Rahmen der diesjährigen “<perspektive>” hier an der Uni Bielefeld mit meinem Projekt an der ScienceFair teilgenommen. Ich veröffentliche das Poster hier erneut für die Allgemeinheit – es erklärt den Grundgedanken meines Forschungsprojekts nämlich in allgemeinverständlichem Deutsch und nicht wie sonst auf Englisch. Wer mir also bisher nicht so ganz folgen konnte, kann es nun noch mal in aller Ruhe in Schrift mit netten Bildern versuchen.

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Latest Projects

ChordCubes (Master's Thesis)

Florian Sprengel submitted his Master’s Thesis “ChordCubes”, a music application incorporating the TAOs.

Abstract: “For a musician to grow and become more proficient as an instrumentalist it takes a fair amount of practice. But to also develop musicality requires more than the numb and repetitive exercising of scales. In order to make musical practice both efficient and entertaining, we propose a new musical practice tool that is based on a Tangible User Interface (TUI).

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Active Home EntertAinment Desk (Student Project)

The Active Home EntertAinment Desk (AHEAD) is a universal multi-user tabletop media navigation and control system for the living room. It consists of actuated (robotic) and passive tangible objects used on a large interactive surface (Samsung SUR40). With AHEAD, users can browse, navigate and control available media data and devices, implementing the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) standard, such as modern televisions and other media devices. Thereby our system is compatible with most current television sets and home entertainment systems and acts as a universal control for several multimedia devices.

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Integrated Multi-modal actuated TUI (Feasibility and Design Study)

In this paper we showcase an integrative approach for our actuated Tangible Active Objects (TAOs), that demonstrates distributed collaboration support to become a versatile and comprehensive dynamic user interface with multi-modal feedback. We incorporated physical actuation, visual projection in 2D and 3D, and vibro-tactile feedback. We demonstrate this approach in a furniture placing scenario where the users can interactively change the furniture model represented by each TAO using a dial-based tangible actuated menu. We demonstrate virtual constraints between our TAOs to automatically maintain spatial relations.

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Embodied Social Networking (User Study)

In this paper we present a novel approach for Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) which incorporate small mobile platforms to actuate Tangible User Interface Objects (TUIOs). We propose an application of Tangible Active Objects (TAOs) in combination with gestural interaction for social networking. TUIOs represent messages while gestural input using these objects is used for triggering actions with these messages. We conducted a case study and present the results. We demonstrate interaction with a working social networking client.

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For a complete list of projects, have a look at the Projects page.

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This work was supported by the
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)