Knowledge of Today for the Design of Tomorrow

Masitah Ghazali and Alan Dix
Computing Department, Infolab21 Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
< Masitah on the Web > < Alan on the Web >

Paper at IDEC 2005, September 2005, Edinburgh, UK.

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The vision of ubiquitous and tangible computing is a world filled with a plethora of objects beneath which lie vast amounts of computational power. This poses new design challenges in the attempt to bridge the physical and digital worlds. This paper describes a study of mundane electronic devices in order to understand what makes physical interactions and physical-logical mappings natural and comprehensible. We are looking particularly at how these principles exploit our innate human understanding of the physical world to allow fluid, natural interaction. Our aim is to exploit the design knowledge and experience embodied in these existing devices in order to re-apply it to novel device design. An initial collection of interaction principles is presented, which offers a new way to understand natural interaction with tangible controls. We hope the findings will enable us designing a richer engaging experience with novel devices.

Keywords: Tangible user interface, ubiquitous computing, consumer appliances, physical interaction, fluidity, affordances.

Full reference:
M. Ghazali and A. Dix (2005). Knowledge of Today for the Design of Tomorrow In the Proceedings of the 2nd International Design and Engagibility Conference (IDEC) 2005 Proceedings. , Edinburgh, 6th September 2005
Download full paper (PDF, 177K)
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(logical state)
Devices Physicalthe real world,
exposed mechanisms
consumer devices,
augmented reality
Virtualindustrial control,
heads-up displays
GUI and
direct manipulation

TABLE 1: styles of physical–virtual interaction

FIGURE 1: States for simple switch

FIGURE 2: Speaker control

FIGURE 3: On/Off control with bounce back – is it on or off now?

FIGURE 4: Volume control – linked buttons

FIGURE 5: Washing machine and its control

Alan Dix 5/12/2007