Implications of Location and Touch for On-Body Projected Interfaces

In this paper, we discuss an emergent shift in computing: from mobile devices we carry to using the human body as an interactive platform. By moving the power of information, communication, and computation right onto the skin (see e.g., Skinput and OmniTouch), researchers hope to reduce interactive viscosity in the same way mobile computers did relative to their desktop counterparts. To date, research into on-body projected interfaces has primarily focused on the fundamental question of whether or not it was technologically possible. Although considerable work remains, these systems are no longer artifacts of science fiction — prototypes have been successfully demonstrated and tested on hundreds of people. Our aim in this work is to begin shifting the question away from how, and towards where. This class of question informs the design of future systems and validates some design decisions used in current systems that were based on anecdotal evidence.

To understand this expansive space, we employed a two-part, mixed-methods exploratory process. Participants from a variety of backgrounds were asked to reflect on their openness to interacting with touch interfaces projected onto various parts of their own bodies, and also touching interfaces projected onto others. Our investigations started with high spatial resolution, but low detail crowdsourced data. We then complimented this model with low spatial resolution, but high-detail qualitative feedback from a diverse set of experts, including a tattoo artist, massage therapist, and dance instructor. The results of this structured exploration reveal both limitations and opportunities, which point the way towards for more comfortable, efficacious, and enjoyable on-body user experiences.

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Reference

Harrison, C. and Faste, H. Implications of Location and Touch for On-Body Projected Interfaces. In Proceedings of the 10th Biennial ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (Vancouver, Canada, June 21 - 25, 2014). DIS ’14. ACM, New York, NY. 543-552.

© Chris Harrison