Tangible user interfaces emerge as a novel human-computer interaction style that interlinks the physical and digital worlds. Extending beyond the limitations of the computer mouse, keyboard and monitor, Tangible user interfaces allow users to interact with digital information through grasping and manipulating physical objects, and through gestures. By allowing users to draw on their natural skills for interacting with digital information, tangible user interface could reduce the cognitive load required for performing a computetional task, and offer an intuitive and collbaorative interface to support activities such as learning, problem solving, design, and entertainment.
Building a tangible user interface (TUI) is a complex process that encompasses multidisciplinary knowledge including computer science, art, and social sciences. Successful design depends on many factors including physical form, social settings,and aesthetics, in addition to well-designed software and electronics. Students will be introduced to conceptual frameworks of tangible interaction, the latest research in the field, and a variety of techniques for designing and building tangible user interfaces including programming a multi-touch surface (Microsoft Surface) and a variety of microcontrollers. Students will work in a team of three to invent and build a novel tangible user interface.