UIST 2017: HeatSpace – Automatic Placement of Displays by Empirical Analysis of User Behavior

Heatspace records and empirically analyzes user behavior in a space and automatically suggests positions and sizes for new displays.

We present HeatSpace, a system that records and empirically analyzes user behavior in a space and automatically suggests positions and sizes for new displays. The system uses depth cameras to capture 3D geometry and users’ perspectives over time. To derive possible display placements, it calculates volumetric heatmaps describing geometric persistence and planarity of structures inside the space. It evaluates visibility of display poses by calculating a volumetric heatmap describing occlusions, position within users’ field of view, and viewing angle. Optimal display size is calculated through a heatmap of average viewing distance. Based on the heatmaps and user constraints we sample the space of valid display placements and jointly optimize their positions. This can be useful when installing displays in multi-display environments such as meeting rooms, offices, and train stations.

Please see the paper for details.

CHI 2017: Changing the Appearance of Real-World Objects by Modifying Their Surroundings

We present an approach to alter the perceived appearance of physical objects by controlling their surrounding space. Many real-world objects cannot easily be equipped with displays or actuators in order to change their shape. While common approaches such as projection mapping enable changing the appearance of objects without modifying them, certain surface properties (e. g. highly reflective or transparent surfaces) can make employing these techniques difficult. In this work, we present a conceptual design exploration on how the appearance of an object can be changed by solely altering the space around it, rather than the object itself. In a proof-of-concept implementation, we place objects onto a tabletop display and track them together with users to display perspective-corrected 3D graphics for augmentation. This enables controlling properties such as the perceived size, color, or shape of objects. We characterize the design space of our approach and demonstrate potential applications. For example, we change the contour of a wallet to notify users when their bank account is debited. We envision our approach to gain in importance with increasing ubiquity of display surfaces.

Please see our project page for more details.


UIST 2016: Changing the Appearance of Physical Interfaces Through Controlled Transparency


We present physical interfaces that change their appearance through controlled transparency. These transparency-controlled physical interfaces are well suited for applications where communication through optical appearance is sufficient, such as ambient display scenarios. They transition between perceived shapes within milliseconds, require no mechanically moving parts and consume little energy. We build 3D physical interfaces with individually controllable parts by laser cutting and folding a single sheet of transparency-controlled material. We explore the benefits of transparency-controlled physical interfaces by characterizing their design space and showcase four physical prototypes.

Please see our project page for more details.

Our work was featured on Fast Company Co.Design, Vice Motherboard and Futurism.