Thanks to the chair, and good morning everyone.In this talk we will present our work on a concept we call “mediated tabletop interaction”.This is work did together with Aurelien Tabard and JakobBardram at the IT University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with biologists from the iNano center at Århus University.
The work we are going to present is a small part of a larger project which goal is to introduce tabletops to the biology laboratory, and support different aspects of this kind of experimental work.
The part that concerns us here today, and the motivation to our work, is the biologists use oftest tubes, which are very small objects.Test tubes contain very well defined, often very expensive, substances which are often linked to digital data on the biologists computer.Therefore we can say that for some physical test tube there is an informational counter-part.Inspired by the experience of other tabletop-based projects, we wanted to enable biologists to have some degree of tangible interaction with the test tubes on the tabletop.So that, by simply bringing the tube onto the digital bench, they could access and annotate the digital record of a test tube.
So, but what does it mean to integrate objects to an interactive surface?Object integration with interactive surfaces is about determining a set of properties about an object lying on the tabletop.These properties normally include position in x and y, but also the type of the object, the object id, and its orientation in relation to the user.This integration is normally implemented in three approaches:- In the first approach the application uses techniques like shape and color recognition or fiducial markers.- In the second approach the objects are recognized by augmenting them with active electronic components.- In the third approach RFID tags are used either on the object or on the surface.
However, when working with test tubes none of this methods is really compelling: - Tubes are all identical so they cannot be identified by color and shape recognition. - Tubes are all too small for carrying fiducial markers. - Tubes have to be cheap, because biologists use many of them… some of which are kept and some are disposed of immediately – so not active components can be used, specially the ones that require batteries. - Finally, RFID based approaches are usually very good at determining the “presence”, but they cannot tell much about location and orientation.
So,In order to look for a solution we went back to the user studies we had done for the digital bench project, and particularly to the many pictures we collected of experimental work.And one of the things that kept coming up is that biologists always use racks to handle their test tubes.Whenever the tubes are on the table, they are sitting on a rack.This is a basic but important observation, because even if we could identify, locate and orient one test tube or even many of them simultaneously, tubes would still be enclosed on the rack.
Then we figured that the rack could actually become the interface between the test tubes and the interactive surface.And we created this small prototype which we like to call “The Rabbit”
The prototype we created is device made of an RFID reader, a small processor, and an IR LED matrix.When an RFID-tagged test tube is brought onto it, the rabbit picks up the RFID code and translates it into a dynamically generated fiducial marker that is shown through the LED matrix.On the other side, the tabletop recognizes the fiducial and retrieves the digital information related to such test tube.
For our proof of concept we used the smallest RFID tags you can buy on Sparkfun, and several common sizes for test tubes.We used basic prototyping components like an Arduino Pro Mini, an RFID reader with an embedded antenna, and a custom made IR LED matrix with a matrix backpack.
The encoding strategy for the prototype transforms the 6 bytes RFID code to fit into the 4 byte square code and provides a checksum byte.It also added a series of action bits, which allow for the rabbit to have extra functionalities like buttons.
So, when we built the rabbit we realized that the approach we followed was not the only possible one, and we try to generalize this approach into the concept of Mediated Tabletop Interaction.Here, small tagged-objects are placed on the mediator which transforms this codes and communicates the required location, orientation, and object id to the interactive surface.For other situations different than the biology lab objects could be tagged in a different way like with Barcodes, QR codes, or iButton.And the mediator, could communicate with the tabletop over different media like like LCD displays, or wireless communications, or even a USB cable.So, by using a mediated tabletop interaction we open the space for bringing small objects onto tabletops, to do all the cool stuff the HCI community knows about.
So this paper presents a way to integrate small objects with tabletops, which we call mediated tabletop intereaction.The agenda for this talk will be to see the existing alternatives to enable object integration with the tabletop.We will look at the biologists use of racks and how it led to the first rabbit implementation.Then we discuss how the rabbit implementation generalizes into the notion of mediated tabletop interaction, and present how we explored this technology with biologists and the design space definition it led us to.Finally, we present the conclusion and future work.
Mediated tabletop interaction in the biology lab, exploring the design space of the rabbit
Mediated Tabletop InteractionIn The Biology Lab<br />Exploring the Design Space of the Rabbit<br />Juan David Hincapié-Ramos<br />Aurélien Tabard<br />Jakob E. Bardram<br />Ubicomp 2011 – Beijing, China – September 21, 2011<br />
Conclusion<br />Weintroduced the concept of MediatedTabletop Interaction<br />Webuilt a prototype illustrating the concept<br />Wedescribedits design space<br />We are looking for new occurrences of it<br />Demo<br />
Tracking Through Static Means<br />Shape and Color Recognition – feature extraction (Wellner 93, Ullmer and Ishii 97)<br />Fiducial Markers (Kaltenbrunner 07)<br />Magnetic Pucks (Patten et al. 01)<br />
Tracking Through Active Means<br />Dynamic properties – reflection and morph(Dietz et al. 09, Sato et al. 09, Weiss et al. 09)<br />Anoto-based tracking (Haller et al. 06)<br />IR LED diodes in the object (Hofer et al. 09)<br />BlueTooth+ Blinking Display(Wilson and Sarin 07)<br />
Tracking Through RFID<br />Signal Triangulation<br />Reader matrix on the surface (Sugimoto et al. 00, Rekimoto et al. 01)<br />Reader on the object (Reily et al. 06)<br />Frame Difference Algebra: RFID + image processing(Olwal and Wilson 08)<br />