Interacting with traditional computers is predominantly a cognitive activity. This both
tend to make computer work inaccessible to motorically disposed people, and it prevents everybody from
exploiting the huge perceptual-motoric capability of humans when interacting with computers.
The goal of this research is to expand the repertoire of tangible interaction principles used for interacting
with computers and dedicated information components.
With computers changing from desktop PCs to mobile devices and distributed smart products,
user interfaces of future industrial products will move beyond display, keyboard and mouse. They will
allow users to apply a much broader range of tangible skills and traditions.
- Learning with artefacts:
Tangible objects allow people to train both cognitive and perceptual-motor skills in synergy. The richness
of physical objects invites people to play in a way that goes beyond screen-based elements.
- Beyond blocks - Physical richness of meaning:
Physical objects have a sensory richness of meaning that screen-based elements do not. When we see, hear
and feel real-world objects we can say something about whether they are old or new, empty or full, frequently
or seldom used, important or trivial etc. Current efforts in tangible interaction seldom tap this expressive
richness. By making tangible objects more expressive, we could create interfaces that are easier, more
beautiful and more fun to use.
- Emotionally rich interaction:
Human behaviour is a carrier of emotional information. While affective computing has received much attention,
emotion recognition usually focuses on physiological information (blood pressure, heart beat, skin conductivity
etc.). Tangible objects, which are designed to invite emotionally rich behaviour, can make inferences
about the users emotional state from the way he acts.
The establishment of the new IT Product Development graduate course (IT-Vest, from September 2001 at MCI)
is closely linked to this research activity. It has modules on both Tangible Interaction Design and on
Expressive Interaction (style and aestetics).
We plan an international summer school on the topic.
The project family Pervasive Computing in Industrial Plants serves as a primary empirical test bed for
This research area is located at the Mads Clausen Institute in Sønderborg:
University of Southern Denmark
Danfoss User Centred Design Group
Delft University of Technology
University of Queensland, Margot Brereton.
Responsible: Tom Djajadiningrat, assoc. professor, interaction designer PhD, SDU
Niels Thede Schmidt-Hansen, industrial designer, Danfoss UCD
Ingrid van Rijn, industrial design engineer, Danfoss UCD