Ubicomp to the masses: a large-scale study of two tangible interfaces for download

Costanza, Enrico, Giaccone, Matteo, Küng, Olivier, Shelley, Simon and Huang, Jeffrey (2010) Ubicomp to the masses: a large-scale study of two tangible interfaces for download. In, Ubicomp '10. Proceedings of the 12th ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Copenhagen, DK, 26 - 29 Sep 2010. , 173-182. (doi:10.1145/1864349.1864388).


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Tangible user interfaces have been promoted and discussed in the Ubicomp and HCI communities for 15 years. In TUIs physical objects are used for the control and representation of digital information, similarly to how icons are used in graphical user interfaces for the same purpose. Most reported TUI systems have the nature of research prototypes, available in laboratories or museums. This paper reports an attempt to understand the impact of TUIs in users' everyday environments through 2 low-cost simple set-up tangible interfaces for music that can be freely downloaded from a website. The systems are based on computer vision, printed paper and audio output. A few hundreds of users downloaded them and played with them. We logged users’ interaction with the interfaces and analysed content posted by them on our own and other web sites to observe and evaluate how they relate to such novel systems, taking measures to protect their privacy. Both the interaction logs and the users' comments indicate that the tangible interfaces were accepted as normal: they were perceived just as interfaces to make music rather than esoteric systems. It’s time to bring Ubicomp technology to the masses!

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1145/1864349.1864388
ISBNs: 9781605588438 (hardback)
Keywords: tui, musical instrument, massive user observation, user generated content, d-touch, drum machine, sequencer
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions : Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering > Electronics and Computer Science > Agents, Interactions & Complexity
ePrint ID: 271150
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
25 September 2010Published
Date Deposited: 24 May 2010 09:26
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:18
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/271150

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