Malte Weiß
HCI Research · Software Development

Augmenting Interactive Tabletops with Translucent Tangible Controls

Book chapter by Malte Weiss, James D. Hollan, Jan Borchers

In Tabletops - Horizontal Interactive Displays, Human Computer Interaction Series, chapter 7, pp. 157–180. Springer Verlag, April 2010.

BibTeX citation
author = {Malte Weiss and James D. Hollan and Jan Borchers},
title = {Augmenting Interactive Tabletops with Translucent Tangible Controls},
booktitle = {Tabletops - Horizontal Interactive Displays},
chapter = {7},
publisher = {Springer Verlag},
year = {2010},
series = {Human Computer Interaction Series},
month = {April},
pages = {157--180},
isbn = {978-1-84996-112-7},
url = {}


Multi-touch surfaces open new interaction possibities by enabling multi-hand and multi-person direct manipulation interfaces. However, while direct manipulation is intuitive and natural, interacting with virtual objects lacks haptic feedback and without focused visual attention can lead to input errors and unsatisfying user experience. Tangible interfaces (TUIs) are a promising approach to this issue but most are special-purpose with fixed physical and visual appearance. This chapter provides an overview of recent work to add haptic feedback to interactive surfaces. The focus of the chapter is Silicone Illuminated Active Peripherals (SLAP). SLAP Widgets are physical translucent general-purpose controls, such as buttons, knob, sliders, and keyboards, that can be used to manipulate virtual objects on interactive tabletop surfaces. They combine the benefits of physical and virtual controls, providing the strong affordances and haptic feedback of physical controls and enabling the dynamically changeable appearance possibilities of virtual controls. SLAP Widgets are particularly promising for tasks in which eyes-free manipulation is required and the plasticity they afford for dynamically changing their visual characteristics as well as their control connections encourages development of context sensitive controls and exploration of alternative interface forms.


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