Innovative Interfaces

by Luke Wroblewski August 11, 2004

This year’s SIGGRAPH conference showcased a number of innovate human-computer interface solutions. Though the general trend was toward natural interfaces that respond to intuitive human gestures and motions, even Aibo was not discounted as a potential interface solution. Natural interfaces are likely to give the mouse a run for its money sometime soon, but they require robust sensors to accurately track position in real time and respond accordingly. Some examples presented at SIGGRAPH are below:


CirculaFloor is a locomotion interface using a group of movable floors. The movable floors employ a holonomic mechanism that achieves omni-directional motion. Circulation of the floors enables users to walk in arbitrary directions in a virtual environment while their positions are maintained.


GelForce is a novel interface that measures the distribution of both the magnitude and direction of force. The sensor is composed of a transparent elastic body, two layers of blue and red markers, and a CCD camera. Force vectors are calculated from the captured movement of the markers.

Lumisight Table

Lumisight Table is a novel interactive table display that can display information in each required direction on a shared screen and capture multiple users' gestures simultaneously.

Novel Infrared Touch-Screen Technology

This is a novel technique for a touch screen using front-projected infrared with a rear-projected interactive video display. The technology is demonstrated with three art pieces. Two of the art pieces allow participants to create works in the forms of Calder (MPG) and Mondrian. The third is a visualization of radio interferometry.

Force Feedback Interface That Uses Air Jets

This is an untethered interface that eliminates the annoyance of wires and other connectors by using air jets to establish force feedback. Attendees experience interaction with a virtual object that responds to being "touched." The sense of touch is provided by air jets, while visual clues are provided by a projection-based stereo display.

PHANTOM Omni Haptic Device

The SensAble Technologies PHANTOM product line of haptic devices makes it possible for users to touch and manipulate virtual objects.

Swimming Across the Pacific

In this virtual swimming apparatus, a swimmer is suspended in a swimming cage wearing a hang-gliding harness, a head-mounted-display, and eight tracking sensors. When the apparatus is installed in an airplane flying across the Pacific Ocean, a performer will swim for the entire duration of the flight, and the plane, a bubble of non-time and non-space, will become a collaborative artistic space.

NetAIBO Project

An unsimultaneous-communication and 3D-space-sharing system using web3D techniques and AIBO as the interface and a proposal for new entertainment content extended from the original function of AIBO and other stand-alone robots.