Multi-touch on Ice

I thought I have seen all possible multi-touch installations ๐Ÿ˜‰ but here is a new one: Ubice installation.

Jonna and her group at NRC in Finland have built a multi-touch wall made from ice (frozen water – they seem to have plenty of it up there).

Even though it is on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbtrI6GjBsk) we still hope to see a paper on this project – do the user study before it melts ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces 2010 conference is this year in Germany in November 2010: http://www.its2010.org/

More surface interaction using audio: Scratch input

After my talk at the Minerva School Roy Weinberg pointed me to a paper by Chris Harrison and Scott Hudson [1] – it also uses audio for creating an interactive surface. The novelty on the technical side is limited but nevertheless the approach is interesting and appealing because of its simplicity and its potential (e.g. just think beyond a fingernail on a table to any contact movement on surfaces – pushing toy cars, walking, pushing a shopping trolleyโ€ฆ). Perhaps having a closer look at this approach a generic location system could be created (e.g. using special shoe soles that make a certain noise).

There is a youtube movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E8vsQB4pug

Besides his studies Roy develops software for the Symbian platform and he sells a set of interesting applications.

[1] Harrison, C. and Hudson, S. E. 2008. Scratch input: creating large, inexpensive, unpowered and mobile finger input surfaces. In Proceedings of the 21st Annual ACM Symposium on User interface Software and Technology (Monterey, CA, USA, October 19 – 22, 2008). UIST ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 205-208. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1449715.1449747

Bastian Pfleging joined the team (some weeks ago :-)

Bastian Pfleging joined us some weeks ago – his first day at work was at TEI’09 in Cambridge. We he came back he was so well integrted in the team that I forgot to write a blog entry. In fact he was already at a workshop with us some weeks ago – remember the photo?

Bastian studied computer science at TU Dortmund and his final project was on computer vision based interaction in smart environments in the Group of Gernot A. Fink.

Visit at Microsoft in Redmond

AJ Brush and John Krumm organize for the people who are in Redmond for the Ubicomp PC meeting a visit to Microsoft. In the morning we got a tour at the home lab โ€“ Microsoftโ€™s vision of future home environments โ€“ was quite interesting, but had to sign an NDA.
After lunch we went over to Microsoft Research (which is in a new building). We got to see some cool demos. Andy Wilson showed us some new stuff moving the SURFACE forward (physics rocks!). I learned more about depth sensing cameras and Andy showed a fun application [1] โ€“ there is video about it, too. Patrick Baudisch talked us through the ideas of LucidTouch [2] and more general about future interaction with small mobile devices. The idea of using the finger behind the screen and the means to increase the precision has many interesting aspects. I found the set of people that work at MSR as impressive as the demos โ€“ it seems to be a really exciting work environment.

The atrium of the new building is amazing for playing Frisbee and shoot rubber band missiles. And waiting for the pizza with those toys around proved yet again that researchers are often like kids ๐Ÿ˜‰

[1] Wilson, A. Depth-Sensing Video Cameras for 3D Tangible Tabletop Interaction. Tabletop 2007: The 2nd IEEE International Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems, 2007.

[2] Wigdor, D., Forlines, C., Baudisch, P., Barnwell, J., Shen, C. LucidTouch: A See-Through Mobile Device. In Proceedings of UIST 2007, Newport, Rhode Island, October 7-10, 2007, pp. 269โ€“278 http://www.patrickbaudisch.com/projects/lucidtouch/