Authors: Christian C. Ventes, Andres A. Navarro-Newball, Deivy A. Velasco, Edmond C. Prakash
We present VirtuaOM, a library inspired in the Sensetable device developed by James Patten that permits programmers to create applications where the system can track users and tangible wireless objects in a tabletop surface emulated in the floor (a “tabletop carpet surface”). We moved the interaction area of a table to the floor to increase it and to give users the freedom to move through it. This makes it easier for multiple users to interact with each other and with the system collaboratively. With an interaction area larger than a normal table or desk we decided to assure that our tangible objects are large enough to be manipulated by a user using both hands without this being difficult or annoying. The system is capable to detect object position and orientation and to detect when a single user or multiple users are close to that object. This gives us several possibilities for new interactions that can be created based on the basic actions detected by the system. With larger tangible devices and more than one user using the system we had to consider the production and maintenance cost in case of damage or loss. For that reason, we decided to use the computer vision approach in order to keep away from the user any electronic device used to track the tangible objects, by doing this, those objects are easily replaceable. Using the Kinect sensor we were able to detect and track objects and users in real time with the chance of still working with changes in light conditions. We present as application an audio reproducer demo where users can play/pause and change song positions moving tangible devices and increase or decrease the volume by rotating one of them.
Keywords: HCI; multimodal; interfaces;tangible user interface;computer vision; collaborative interface, augmented reality