Changing the Appearance of Physical Interfaces Through Controlled Transparency
David Lindlbauer1, Jörg Müller2, Marc Alexa1
1 TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2 Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
to appear in Proceedings of ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) 2016
We present physical interfaces that change their appearance through controlled transparency. These transparency-controlled physical interfaces are well suited for applications where communication through optical appearance is sufficient, such as ambient display scenarios. They transition between perceived shapes within milliseconds, require no mechanically moving parts and consume little energy. We build 3D physical interfaces with individually controllable parts by laser cutting and folding a single sheet of transparency-controlled material.Electrical connections are engraved in the surface, eliminating the need for wiring individual parts. We consider our work as complementary to current shape-changing interfaces. While our proposed interfaces do not exhibit dynamic tangible qualities, they have unique benefits such as the ability to create apparent holes or nesting of objects.
We explore the benefits of transparency-controlled physical interfaces by characterizing their design space and showcase four physical prototypes: two activity indicators, a playful avatar, and a lamp shade with dynamic appearance.
Ambient notification indicator
Lamp shade with dynamic appearance
We argue that by creating transparency-controlled objects, unwanted parts of the interfaces can be hidden. We envision that users always only see the parts of the object that are needed to resemble a specific appearance. Hidden parts blend into the environment. This strengthens the illusion of a specific appearance and avoids that users perceive multiple objects when there should really only be one.
This page will also contain software and hardware created in this project closer to presentation at the conference, including: