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Jun Rekimoto "Organic Interaction Technologies : from Stone to Skin" (CACM 2008)

Jun Rekimoto "Organic Interaction Technologies : from Stone to Skin" (CACM 2008)

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Published by: Jun Rekimoto on Oct 20, 2012
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June 2008/Vol. 51, No. 6
he mouse is the most successful and popular input device in the history of computing. However, it will never be the ultimate input devicebecause it does not completely bring out its users’ sophisticated manip-ulation skills. A mouse gives us control of only a single position (x,y) atany given moment in time, along with additional button presses(on/off). Feedback related to the input is normally available only asvisual information. On the other hand, in physical manipulation, we easily con-trol multiple points and continuous parameters (such as pressure) at the sametime. Feedback is not limited to sight but often includes touch, sound, tempera-ture, and even air movement. Feedback itself is also more tightly unified withinput than in traditional graphical user interfaces (GUIs), where input and outputare often separate. The part(s) of our body we use for interaction is not limited tofingers; the palm, arm, even the entire body are all potentially usable. Severalrecent approaches have sought to incorporate these human manipulation skillsinto human-computer interaction. I use the terms “organic” and “organic interac-tion” for such interfaces, because they more closely resemble natural human-phys-ical and human-human interaction (such as shaking hands and gesturing).
 Interaction with computers can make use of our whole physical  and even emotional selves, as demonstrated by such emerging systems as HoloWall, SmartSkin, and PreSense.
June 2008/Vol. 51, No. 6
The table here outlines the features of organicinteraction, comparing them with the features of traditional user interfaces. Even as the number of novel interaction methodsinvolving sensing tech-nologies has grown, suchmethods have been usedmainly for some specialpurpose (such as interac-tive art). Myron Krueger’s“Videoplace” (bubblegum.parsons.edu) was an early example (early 1970s); init, a video camera was used to capture a user’s body silhouette, and the full-body shape, not just fingerpositions, are used as input to the computer system.In the next few years, as the cost of sensing and com-putation comes down, such organic interaction tech-nologies are likely to be viable alternatives totraditional mouse-based interaction. Here, I explorenotable examples and discuss future research topicsneeded to advance organic user interfaces and makethem more mainstream.
HoloWall [5] is a camera-based interactive wall/table system that uses a combination of infrared(IR) camera and array of IR lights installed behindthe wall (see Figure 1).The camera captures theimages on the back surfaceof the wall (illuminated by the IR lights). An IR-blocking filter built intothe LCD projector ensuresthat the camera is notaffected by the projectedimage.Since the rear-projectionpanel is semi-opaque anddiffusive, the user’s hand shape in front of the screenisnotvisibletothecamerawhenthehandisfar(morethan 30cm) from the screen. When the user moves a finger close enough to the screen (10cm or less), the
Figure 1. HoloWall interactive surface system [5]. The camera(with IR filter) captures the image on the back surface of arear-projection sheet illuminated by IR lights behind the sheet.(a) Sensor configuration; (b) example multi-touch interaction;(c) physical instruments for interaction; (d) captured image for recognition; and (e) interactive table with hand shapes as input.
MetaphorNumber of interaction pointsStateInputOutput (feedback)I/O couplingDistance to targetPurposePlace of interaction
Traditional UI
tools/stonesinglediscrete (button On/Off)position (x,y)visualseparatedcontactperform commandscomputer screen
Organic UI
skin/membraneplural or infiniteanalog (continuous)shapetactile and othersunifiedproximitycommunicationanywhere
Traditional GUI andorganic interaction compared.

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