Thursday, March 11, 2010

Towards More Paper-like Input: Flexible Input Devices for Foldable Interaction Styles

(Comment left on Aaron Loveall's blog)

David T. Gallant Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada
Andrew G. Seniuk Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada
Roel Vertegaal Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada

Gallant et. al. present Foldable User Interface (FUI), a paper like input device for more organic/paper-like manipulation of on screen objects like windows, pages, or three dimensional models.

The main benefit of their interface is that it is cheap, unlike most similar input devices. It also is fairly robust and accurate.

To implement FUI, they used an IR webcam, an LCD screen, and a foldable input device (FID) made of black cardstock with 25-35 infrared reflectors made out of 3M retro-reflective tape.

FUI has several interaction techniques:
Thumb Slide - Select, click, pop-up menus
Scoop Shape
Top Corner Bend - Bookmarking
Hover - Magnify/Zoom
Fold - Helps create 3D models
Leafing - Turning Pages
Shake - triggers discrete events (like sorting)

Navigation is done by moving the FID itself.
My Spill:

While the FUI is an interesting idea with good observations about the properties of paper, I don't see this being a widespread method of everyday human-computer interaction.

However, I could see where this kind of technique might be useful in creating three dimensional models for certain kinds of specialists.

If they presented a literal desktop interface where documents are represented by paper like objects (I know there are a few out there) this system would be much more appealing. But for current GUIs, this isn't a very useful input system.


  1. I'm not sure how intuitive this would be for people to learn and use. I think many people would rather not attempt using this and just keep on using their mouse. In order for this to actually hit the market I think there is going to have to be a lot more testing done.

  2. They would definitely have to create a new GUI system and redefine the way that we interact with the computer - which is fine if the new interface is truly innovative and unique, which this isn't.