A Programming Library for Creating Tangible User Interfaces

Christian C. Ventes, Andrés A. Navarro-Newball, Deivy A. Velasco, Edmond C. Prakash


Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) bring digital interfaces to the real world by using specific devices to achieve a task. They can be more intuitive, allowing the user to take advantage of a computer tool which is associated to the real world. One problem is that creating a TUI for each piece of software is expensive. For instance, devices such as the mouse, keyboard or touchscreen have become more popular. Indeed, it is cheaper to adapt the users to the interface than creating an adequate interface for each program. We present VirtuaOM, a library which allows creating low cost interfaces where the users can communicate with an application in a tangible manner. Additionally, an application using this library can allow several users to communicate collaboratively among them and with the system within the interaction space. In order to build our library, we combined the Design Thinking and Software Engineering methodologies. We tested VirtuaOM creating an interaction space inspired in the Sensetable device developed by Patten [9] that permits programmers to create applications where the system can track users and tangible wireless objects in a tabletop surface, but we moved the interaction area from a table to the floor to increase it and to give users the freedom to move through it. This made it easier for multiple users to interact with each other and with the system collaboratively.


Application programming interfaces, Augmented Reality, Tangible User Interfaces, Tabletop

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