June 2008/Vol. 51, No. 6
COMMUNICATIONSOF THE ACM
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  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 . 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
tools/stonesinglediscrete (button On/Off)position (x,y)visualseparatedcontactperform commandscomputer screen
skin/membraneplural or infiniteanalog (continuous)shapetactile and othersunifiedproximitycommunicationanywhere
Traditional GUI andorganic interaction compared.