A video describing the poker surface is available in youtube. It is an implementation of a poker game on a combination of a multi-touch table and mobile phones, for details see [1].

It is amazing how quickly it is picked up. It gained about 5000 views in a single day and it is already features in,, and on But as the comments on show the real poker players are hard to impress…

This really makes me think how research, publishing, and public perception of research is changing – rapidly…

[1] Shirazi, A.… Continue reading

In my lecture on user interface engineering I start out with a short history of human computer interaction. I like to discuss ideas and inventions in the context of the people who did it, besides others I take about Vannevar Bush and his vision of information processing [1], Ivan Sutherland’s sketchpad [2], Doug Engelbart’s CSCW demo (including the mouse) [3], and Alan Kay’s vision of the Dynabook [4].

One aspect of looking at the history is to better understand the future of interaction with computers. One typical question I ask in class is “what is the ultimate user interface” and… Continue reading

Toshio Iwai gave the keynote at Pervasive 2009 on expanding media art. He introduced us to the basics of moving images and films. The examples were fun and I think I will copy some for my introductory class on user interfaces for explaining the visual system (afterimages with a black-and-white negative image; the concept of combining images on two sides of a disk; the idea of moving images by using a flip book).

In his introduction he also went back to explain what he learned as a child and I found this very interesting and encouraging to expose smaller children… Continue reading

Currently we work in one of our courses on a specific multi-touch table. Students have already created a first version of an interesting application – and ideas for many more are there. However so far our prototype does not look like a table.

Learning that our university has central workshops we went there to talk about our project and to get the mechanical parts built. Our first meeting was really interesting – we got a tour and saw drilling and milling machines as well as a cutter that works with water (can cut glass precisely – extremely impressive). Best of… Continue reading

In our course “case studies in pervasive computing” we re-build systems that are described in the research literature and try to improve them or to apply them to new domains. This term the topic is on multi-touch displays. Starting out with Jeff Han’s paper “Low-cost multi-touch sensing through frustrated total internal reflection” we think about novel interaction methods for large screens. And after some initial problems (filter in the web cam we used) we have a first hardware prototype that shows the FTIR effect. The page of Thomas M. Brand is a good starting point if you too… Continue reading