Tangible User Interfaces

20 Oct

I believe that the keyboard and mouse that we use today in order to interact with our computers have many disadvantages. The keyboard and mouse provide poor feedback and insufficient use of our abilities as humans. I believe that we can make computers more intuitive by relating them back to everyday life.

“Trackmate” is a project by Adam Kumpf that explores the area of HCI and aims to connect modern TUI with everyday computing. In order for TUI’s to work with everyday computing he describes an interesting concept of “Lowering the Floor”, “Raising the Ceiling” and “Widening the Walls”. To put it simply “Lowering the Floor” means to make it easy for beginners to use. “Raising the Ceiling” describes a system that scales with the user as they advance and “Widening the Walls” refers to a range of ways it can be used. I think this could be an interesting way for me to approach designing a Tangible User Interface that can be used within the domestic environment.

“Grouping Mechanisms for Smart Objects based on Implicit Interactions and Context Proximity” is a project that helped me learn about interaction techniques that rely on natural actions. The term “Implicit Human Interaction” describes an action that is performed not to interact with a computerised system within an object but an everyday normal action that the computer understands as input. This type of interaction allows the user to interact with everyday objects as normal but we can then use these actions to produce input for a computer system. I think implicit HCI would be a very important factor for me to consider when approaching a TUI that can be used with everyday objects within the domestic environment. This allows the user to interact with a computer without introducing any additional interaction demands to the user.

Throughout my research of Tangible User Interfaces I keep finding information in relation to Hiroshi Ishii and The Tangible Media Group. Over the last fifteen years the MIT Media Lab – The Tangible Media Group have cerated some very interesting projects and papers in the field of Tangible User Interfaces and HCI.

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