Erik Kogler, one of our bachelor students, designed a handheld projector based user interface for environments that are full of smart objects. “Spotlight Navigation at the TU/e can thus be said to arise from SOFIA’s need for interactive controllers for the ubiquitous, invisible technological networks that will surround the user (in this case in the home). When dealing with pervasive technology it is normally assumed that all manner of products will be able to share and collect information, even though they lack an interface capable of creating the connections to make this useful. … Spotlight Navigation device seems an ideal solution to this lack of interface as it can use any surface to create a vast and entirely flexible user-interface.”
Semantic Resources: A tree to create awareness about domestic resource consumption.
Willem Willemsen, one of our master students, designed a decorative toy tree to create awareness about domestic resource consumption. “I chose this metaphor because trees are associated with the environment and the better you do the better your tree (representing the environment) gets. The size of the tree doesn’t only represent the environment, but also the user’s personal effort on reducing resource consumption. Plants are also something that people use a decorative objects in their houses, so the object wouldn’t be an alien object in-between the rest of the objects in the house. The way it works is that the user can build the tree with building blocks. These blocks have a light source inside them that will light up when a level is gained. Each time a level is gained the next block turns on until all blocks are turned on. When this happens the user can add a piece to the tree, and the level starts over again. This means that the system has no levelling limits and can keep growing indefinitely with enough pieces.”
Download the PDF [2M] for more details.
Centralized versus Decentralized: A Study on Tangible Control over Devices in the Living Room
By Matthijs Kwak
Interesting work done by one of the master students. [Project Report, PDF, 700K]
Abstract: Technology is moving to the background and interoperability between devices increases. The handles for users to explore, make and break connections between devices seem to disappear inoverly complex menu structures displayed on small screens. Two prototypes have been developed that introduce a tangible approach towards exploring, making and breaking connections between devices in the living room. One provides a centralized approach (SCD1), the other a decentralized approach (SCD2). Industrial Design students and graduates(N=12) have performed tasks and were asked to explain and grade one out of three methods: SCD1 (image 1), SCD2 (image 2) and bluetooth pairing.Findings suggest that users are better able to project their mental model of how the system works on SCD2 and that atangible solution is not necessarily a better one.
Semantic Connections Demonstrator
For the EU project SOFIA (Smart Objects For Intelligent Applications), Bram van der Vlist and Gerrit Niezen created a demonstrator for one of the use cases: semantic connections. “The demonstrator consists of a set of devices; surround sound-set, mobile mp3 players, an ambient lighting system and interaction device(s). The interaction device is a tile-like interactive object that allows for both exploration of the Smart Space in terms of connections and manipulation of these connections and information/data streams. Coloured LED lighting and light dynamics visualize the connections and connection possibilities between the various devices. By means of putting devices close to one of the four sides of the tile, a user can check if there is a connection and if not if a connection is possible. By simply picking up the tile, and shaking it a user can make or break the connection between the devices present at the interaction tile.”