Tabletop Interaction Beyond Touch - Interaction On, Above, Around, and Across Tabletop Surfaces


erschienen 2017

Verlag: Universität Augsburg


Interactive or digital tabletops are table-like embedded computing systems, which provide a large unified display and input surface. Touch input and tangible artifacts on the tabletop surface represent the most prominent, thus, most often implemented input mechanisms. However, digital tabletops provide much more potential for interaction techniques (e.g., multimodal input or cross-surface interaction). If designers or developers attempt to exploit the full potential of digital tabletops for interactions, they encounter the immediate problem that acquiring an overview of interaction possibilities afforded by digital tabletops can be quite laborious. Without sufficient experiences with digital tabletop technologies, it is further difficult to assess limitations and applicability of different interaction techniques in relation to tabletop technologies. This dissertation addresses this problem by providing and discussing a comprehensible design space for tabletop interaction beyond sole touch input. The design space begins with interaction techniques that happen spatially on a touch sensor surface and extends to interaction techniques that are spatially located above and around a digital tabletop. Finally, the design space considers cross-surface interactions that involve multiple surface-based devices in so-called multi-surface environments.

In each of the areas of the design space, we identified research problems for which this dissertation provides research contributions to advance the field of tabletop interaction. First, we provide algorithms and empirical evaluations for recognition approaches to determine finger orientations and hand distinctions through information extracted from touch contact areas. Second, we present an implementation approach to realize embodied interaction with active actuated tangible artifacts mediated through digital tabletops. And finally, we contribute the design and implementation of a reference multi-surface framework called Environs that lay the foundation for enabling cross-surface interactions in multi-surface environments. The framework addresses in particular heterogeneous device ecologies and further enable implementation of low-latency video-based interactive applications, so-called interactive portals, between multiple surface-based devices. In order to foster research and developments of such interactions in multi-surface environments, we provided the reference implementation as open-source software online at