19.02.17 - 22.02.17, Seminar 17082

Shape-Changing Interfaces

Diese Seminarbeschreibung wurde vor dem Seminar auf unseren Webseiten veröffentlicht und bei der Einladung zum Seminar verwendet.


Shape-changing interfaces are physically-dynamic surfaces that co-locate input and output for communication with a computing device. These interfaces combine and exploit our rich visual and tactile senses, capitalising on our inherent ability to understand, process, and interpret physical 3D artefacts. In some instances, a display overlays the input/output surface to create a physically-dynamic shape-changing display. Examples of shape-changing interfaces include shape-changing 2.5D displays, handheld devices (mobile phones) that self-modify their shape, and shape changing input controllers. Compared to traditional human-computer interaction (e.g. mouse and keyboard, touchscreen), shape-changing interfaces can better convey on-screen content, exploit perceived affordances in physical form, enhance output by exploiting the users’ rich tactile sense, influence social behaviours, and re-appropriate objects through dynamic affordances. Their dynamic features offer new possibilities for more naturalistic or efficient interaction techniques.

Shape-changing interfaces is an immature research field, but recent breakthroughs in Advanced Materials, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Synthetic Biology, and Interactive Technologies could significantly advance this research domain. We believe the time is right to bring together a multi-disciplinary group of researchers to map out a research agenda and to understand how experts from different fields will need to work in tandem to develop these novel interfaces from low-fidelity prototypes into high-resolution products. We aim to discuss the current state-of-the-art in shape-changing interfaces, explore the research challenges of this emerging field, and develop a research agenda for the area. We will base our discussion on three key areas of investigation:

  • Technology: shape-changing interfaces (especially shape-changing displays) are currently built as ‘one-off’ research prototypes with significant technological limitations. HCI researchers have developed these devices to evaluate their usefulness and investigate novel user interactions, but do not have the skillsets or expertise to increase their resolution and robustness. Recent advances in the material sciences, displays, and robotics domains will help to address these shortcomings. In the technology theme, the seminar will aim to better understand the state-of-the-art in advanced materials, produce a common language between expertise groups, and understand the technological needs and motivations of end users.
  • Design and Applications: The design of shape-changing interfaces is crucial to make them functional, easy to use, meaningful, and readily exploitable. However, they pose a range of new design challenges not present in traditional user interface development. Designers no longer have an interface with defined size, shape, or form, and may not know its physical configuration until after an interaction is performed. This seminar theme will explore current theories, practices, and techniques for interaction design, their applicability to shape-changing interfaces, and examine methods for designing applications for these novel devices.
  • User Experience and Evaluation: is key to assessing the success of shape-changing interfaces. User experience concerns the users’ perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of shape-changing interfaces; research in this area provides well-defined metrics for when interaction is successful. However studying shape-changing devices is difficult because (1) the space of potential shapes and deformations to study is of very high dimensionality and impossible to investigate as individual factors in a controlled experiment; (2) the working prototypes are low-fidelity and too fragile to put in user’s hands; high fidelity prototypes require more design iteration and thus time to produce; and (3) experience with such devices spans visual, tactile, and haptic components in addition to factors concerning aesthetics, agency, and affordance; these are hard to evaluate in-depth simultaneously. This seminar theme will examine current progress into user experience and evaluation, successful and unsuccessful methodologies, and explore new avenues for evaluation.

Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
Jason Alexander, Sean Follmer, Kasper Hornbæk, and Anne Roudaut