Kolab: appropriation & improvisation in mobile tangible collaborative interaction

Dalton, Nicholas; Mackay, Gordon and Holland, Simon (2012). Kolab: appropriation & improvisation in mobile tangible collaborative interaction. In: DIS 2012 Designing Interactive Systems, 11-15 Jun 2012, Newcastle, UK.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2317956.2317960

URL: http://www.dis2012.org/


Current design guidelines for conventional tangible systems suggest that the representational significance of tangible tokens is an important consideration in the design of tangible interaction, especially in collaborative contexts. Such advice might be assumed to imply that nomadic tangible systems that employ improvised tokens are liable to have highly impaired usability. In this paper we describe a proof of concept experiment for Kolab, a nomadic tangible interaction system that permits any surface to be appropriated as a collaborative tabletop, and which affords the use of a wide range of appropriated artifacts as improvised tangibles. We demonstrate an approach for realizing the necessary interaction techniques combining tangibles and hand gestures using a fusion of image and depth sensing. We present the results of a user study showing that while users' choices of artifacts were seen to follow an unexpected pattern, various artifacts were appropriated and improvised as tangibles, and the system was found to be both usable and well able to support user collaboration.

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