Project Portfolio

Dan Maynes Aminzade

Research

Actuated Workbench
Audience Interaction
Hover
You're in Control
Edible User Interfaces
Fuzzmail
KC-135
OSCAR

Schools

Stanford
MIT
Carnegie Mellon

Industry

MERL
Microsoft
Adobe
Disney Imagineering

Fun

Unsafe Search
Music Visualization
Mobot
PantsCam
Taboo Database
Pointillism
Painting
WebAmp

Zany

Tacos
SETI Joke
Pepsi Database
Love Calculator

Hacks

AdBall
RCA Lyra
Stone Cold

Humor

SURG Proposals
Female Pop Singers
Satan Baby
Wesley Willis

Actuated Workbench

Actuated Workbench paper, presented at UIST 2002 in Paris, France.

Actuated Workbench video (16.9 MB).

The Actuated Workbench is a device that uses magnetic forces to move objects on a table in two dimensions. It is intended for use with existing tabletop tangible interfaces, providing an additional feedback loop for computer output, and helping to resolve inconsistencies that otherwise arise from the computerís inability to move objects on the table. 


Traditional interactive workbench systems provide feedback through video projection alone. The Actuated Workbench adds an additional feedback loop using physical movement of the tracked objects.


Interactive tabletop surfaces are a promising avenue of research in Tangible User Interfaces. These systems track the position and movement of objects on a flat surface and respond to usersí physical input with graphical output. This offers many advantages over purely graphical interfaces, including the ability for users to organize objects spatially to aid problem solving, the potential for two-handed interaction, and ease of collaboration between multiple collocated users.

Current interactive workbench systems share a common weakness. While input occurs through the physical manipulation of tangible objects, output is displayed only through sound or graphical projection on and around the objects. As a result, the objects can feel like loosely coupled handles to digital information rather than physical manifestations of the information itself.

In addition, the user must sometimes compensate for inconsistencies when links between the digital data and the physical objects are broken. Such broken links can arise when a change occurs in the computer model that is not reflected in a physical change of its associated object. With the computer system unable to move the objects on the table surface, it cannot undo physical input, correct physical inconsistencies in the layouts of the objects, or guide the user in the physical manipulation of the objects. As long as this is so, the physical interaction between human and computer remains one-sided.

The Actuated Workbench attempts to address these limitations by providing a hardware and software infrastructure for a computer to smoothly move objects on a table surface in two dimensions.