PhD Thesis Proposal: Robert Xiao, "Enabling Interaction on Everyday Surfaces"

Robert Xiao

HCII PhD Student

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 11:00am
Gates Hillman Center 4405

Chris Harrison (Co-Chair, HCII)
Scott E. Hudson (Co-Chair, HCII)
Jodi Forlizzi (HCII, School of Design)
Hrvoje Benko (Microsoft Research)

Computers are now ubiquitous. However, computers and digital content have remained largely separate from the physical world – users explicitly interact with computers through small screens and input devices, and the “virtual world” of digital content has had very little overlap with the practical, physical world. My thesis work is concerned with helping computing escape the confines of screens and devices, to spill digital content out into the physical world around us. In this way, I aim to help bridge the gap between the information-rich digital world and the familiar environment of the physical world and allow users to interact with digital content as they would ordinary physical content. I approach this problem from many facets: from the low-level work of providing high-fidelity touch interaction on everyday surfaces, easily transforming these surfaces into enormous touchscreens; to the high-level questions surrounding the interaction design between physical and virtual realms. To achieve this end, building on my prior work, I propose two physical embodiments of this new mixed-reality design: a lightbulb-sized infobulb capable of projecting an interaction zone onto everyday environments, and a head-mounted augmented-reality head-mounted display modified to support touch interaction on arbitrary surfaces.