The Augmented Reality Sandbox funded by the NSF and the sensing technology Touché from the Disney Research team are two projects giving us a glimpse of the next phase of user interface possibilities coming our way. We take a look at them both below:
The researchers presented their project findings at this year's ACM CHI Conference where they won a Best Paper award for their work. Additional technical details and a demonstration of the project in action can be seen at: http://www.disneyresearch.com/research/projects/hci_touche_drp.htm
"As powerful and inspiring as this vision is, it imposes a significant problem: how we will interact with computers that are invisible? From the end-user perspective, the interface will appear as a computer as long as there are buttons to press and mice to move, and thus will never truly disappear. Completely new interaction technologies are required, and we hope that this work contributes to the emergence of future ubiquitous computing environments."
Additional Coverage: New Scientist, ExtremeTech, ScienceDaily, Verge, Wired, CNET
Source & Credits: Disney Research
Augmented Reality Sandbox
The application will be used as a teaching tool for visitors by enabling them to use their hands and a few tools to shape the sand into unique formations that are then augmented in real time with projections of topographic contour lines and simulated water. The system "teaches geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts such as how to read a topographic map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, etc." but you could easily see a tool like this be used in other design and engineering professions in early concept development.