Related Research Areas:
• Tabletop interfaces:
Tabletop interfaces combines interaction techniques and technologies of interactive multi-touch surfaces and tangible interfaces. A tracking mechanism typically embedded underneath the table detects the positioning, movements and correlated interactions across tangible objects. These inputs are detected, analyzed and further provided an appropriate feedback and eventually an output through a projection.
• Tangible Augmented Reality:
Tangible objects are combined with augmented reality displays, where objects as inputs help augment relevant information. Object manipulations such as rotation, vertical/horizontal movements, pressure etc. are various examples of input gestures on tangible augmented reality examples.
• Reality based interfaces:
Taking ahead the concept of TUIs, reality based interfaces proposes the emerging styles of interactions, where it aims to take advantages of user well-entrenched skills and experience of interacting with real non-digital world to a greater extent than before. It proposed four themes of naive physical, body awareness skills, environment and social awareness. Naive physics uses the common sense knowledge of people having about their own world. Body awareness and skills uses awareness of people of their own physical body and their skills of controlling and coordinating their bodies. Environment awareness uses the sense of surroundings, people’s skills of manipulating and navigating in their environment, whereas social awareness propose the use of social skills; skills of interacting with each other verbally and nonverbally and their ability to work together to accomplish a common goal.
Key Characteristics of TUI:
Key characteristics of TUI demonstrate basic fundamentals and guidelines for designing tangible interfaces. It provides five major parameters that TUI systems tend to suffice.
• Physical digital coupling:
Physical representations are computationally coupled to underlying digital information The characteristic emphasizes on physical-digital coupling of interfaces. It proposes to use physical representation to provide digital information as core characteristic of TUI projects. A good example of physical-digital coupling is “Urp” where a range of couplings such as graphical geometries data (wind, shadow etc.) are coupled with building objects, clock hands etc.
• Embodiment of physical representations:
Physical representations embody mechanisms for interactive control
Physical objects used in TUIs should act to control and manipulate digital information. Such interventions provide ease to users if designed with familiar physical objects and familiar interactions. For example, interactions of rotation of familiar artifacts (e.g. clock hands), their insertion or attachment to each other serves as tangible user interfaces’ primary means of control.
• Balancing physical-digital representations:
Physical representations are perceptually coupled to actively mediated digital presentation TUI relies upon appropriate balance between physical and digital representations. Researchers and designers must be able to answer; How to map physical objects and their manipulation to digital computation and feedback in meaningful and comprehensive manner?
In case of URP, rotation of clock hand represents change in time. It is very important to communicate a familiar interaction, where change in time represents change in sunlight and eventually the shadows of building blocks.
• Physical input and its relationship with others:
Relationship between the sequence, adjacencies or other logical relationship between systems of physical objects are mapped and interpreted by computational system. It is very important to consider physical objects’ position, sequence and orientation to each other. The position, sequence and orientation of physical object play an important role to interpret the output mechanism from computational system. Cookie scale computers used in siftable interprets each other’s function, position and orientation to provide solutions to simple math problems.
• Mechanism of interactive control:
Embodiment of mechanism for interactive control with tangible representation:
Metaphors, affordances and semiotics are integral part of TUI systems. Objects, its relevant information and possible associated interactions must be natural and intimidating real world interactions. Actions supported by the objects should be based on well-understood actions related to the object.
E.g. if bottle is chosen, then opening a bottle with a cork is well understood action.