Blo - Multimodal Interaction
                       with User’s Forced Exhalation
Manoj Manduva
Information and Interface ...
temperature of the Body and the relative humidity,       wiping away the dust, flying kisses to loved ones,
close to (wate...
(Water on switchboard)

Listening mode:
                                                          There are several possible listening or input mo...

Human being today is surrounded by various
technology and gadgets thus in turn increasing the
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Blo Mmi With Users Forced Exhalation


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Blo Mmi With Users Forced Exhalation

  1. 1. Blo - Multimodal Interaction with User’s Forced Exhalation Manoj Manduva Information and Interface Design, National Institute of Design, R&D Campus, Bangalore, India. Abstract: “Blo” is a multifunctional digital input device The blow of air has different parameters like that accepts forced exhalation from mouth and its pressure, temperature, duration etc which are sensed variations thus adding a new dimension to the human- by the use of different sensors [2] placed in the computer and human-machine interaction. This new device categorized on the use and the scenario in attempt has a potential to tap our natural actions to which it is used. These sensors record different address certain challenges faced in conventional readings and send the data to the microprocessor for methodologies and introduces new possibilities of processing which in turn controls the applications. This paper introduces you to the concept of Blo in a detailed way and discusses the various operations/performance of the devices. scenarios in which Blo can be used. Blow of air can be taken as an input in addition to the text input for better usability features. Keywords: multimodal interface, forced exhalation, This design can be embedded in different gadgets as impairments, sensors. an added accessibility feature. New product can be designed mostly like handheld to take the blow of air as input and perform different actions when I. INTRODUCTION connected to different devices. The predominant mode of human computer interaction [1] has not changed substantially since the II. ANALYSIS OF HUMAN BREATH creation of the windows, icons, menus and pointers more than thirty years ago. In many ways, they are Human respiratory system has two cycles – still convenient and efficient ways for interaction. inhalation and exhalation [3]. However research and considerable work on Inhalation is initiated by the diaphragm and voice/speech input, handwriting, sketching, and supported by the external intercostal muscles. When gesture based inputs is done as naturalness in the diaphragm contracts, the ribcage expands and the interactivity can provide much better learnability, contents of the abdomen are moved downward. flexibility, memorability, convenience and efficiency. Exhalation is generally a passive process; however, active or forced exhalation is achieved by Blo is a design which uses human breath the abdominal and the internal intercostal muscles. (blow of air) taken as Blo-input [I would use ‘Blo- input’ in place of “blow of air from mouth” in the During this process air is forced or following pages] which aids in interaction between exhaled out. The lungs have a natural elasticity as humans and the computers/machines. This enables they recoil from the stretch of inhalation, air flows users to use a natural way to interact with the back out until the pressures in the chest and the electronic gadgets and computers or sometimes even atmosphere reach equilibrium. to perform the electrical and mechanical operations. During forced exhalation, as in blowing out This is a new interface that connects the instincts of a candle, expiratory muscles including the abdominal human blowing in various situations. muscles and internal intercostal muscles generate abdominal and thoracic pressure, which forces air out of the lungs. Hence the air exhaled has the
  2. 2. temperature of the Body and the relative humidity, wiping away the dust, flying kisses to loved ones, close to (water vapor) 6 %. moving light things (like the pen which is about to roll off the desk), soothing wounds to make feathers Some of the characteristics (variable parameters) that float in the air, which was one of my favorite pastime human breath has are: during childhood. If we see, in many cultures blowing off air is a major part in the people’s daily Humidity / Relative humidity – it varies with the life that we can easily connect to. temperature of the air blown. Temperature – the blown air has certain temperature by placing the input device far or near and also by IV. SCENARIOS increasing the aperture formed by the lips and muscles near the mouth. Pressure – the pressure at which we can blow the air The Blo concept appears more meaningful and useful is variable, we can exert more pressure or less as I project the scenarios where it can be used. Of pressure by controlling the intercostal muscles of course the design of the concept and device would lungs. vary according to the scenario. Duration – the duration for which we can blow the Some of the user groups that would be involved in air is variable. However a limit of 2-3 seconds is different scenarios are: considered comfortable Users with multiple disabilities and impairments like Focus – the focus can be varied by controlling the hearing/speaking/visual impairments, paralyzed/ muscles near the mouth, by controlling the aperture movement impairments. formed by the lips and by positioning the mouth. Users in wet conditions/ electrically conducive Chemical Compound: Our breath consists of certain environments. taste /flavor compounds [4] [refer Table (1)] mixed in Children. the water vapors (lemon flavor / mint / alcohol) Mobile phone users. Other users. Aromatic Fragrance Occurrence Structure Wheel chair for paralyzed or users with limbic Compound movement restriction: Usually when the user cannot move limbs needs an automatic wheelchair with an electric motor fitted, with which s/he can move and Citronellal Lemon Lemon reach his/her destinations. Those wheel chairs usually have push buttons /joystick to operate which can be found difficult for the users. By using the Blo they can start/stop/turn the Eugenol Clove Clove wheel chair with the air-Blo input. The interface can be a simple mouthpiece projected before the user immediately after s/he occupies the chair. A new language for users with multiple Ethyl Sweet, Wine impairments by integrating symbols/visuals/vocals acetate solvent integrated with the Blo signs patterns [similar to telegram’s Morse code]. For the users with hearing Table (1).Aromatic Chemical Compounds and speaking disabilities Blo-inputs (a pattern) transformed into visuals or others can bring excitement and completeness to the communication. III. BLOW – PART OF OUR DAILY LIVES A Blo design can be used to switch On/Off power or operate electrical equipment in wet or The most soothing thing that my mother would do electrically conducive environments like drilling or when suddenly some dirt hits my eye, was to blow mining without actually being in physical contact. some air onto her sari and place it on my eye. Electrical appliances in kitchen are mostly touched Birthday parties are never complete without blowing with wet hands which lead to hazards like short off the candles. My father would clean his circuit and electric shock as seen in Figure (1.a) & motorcycle mirror by blowing vapor onto it and then (1.b). Blo would make the interface hands free and cleaning it with cloth. The list of such common and thus preventing the hazards (washing machine, natural instincts would go from providing warmth, microwave ovens, lights, mixers).
  3. 3. (Water on switchboard) (Blo-input to the mobile) (Burnt switchboard) Figure (1.a) & (1.b) Switch boards in kitchen prone to short circuit hazards. Gaming: A game for children to generate patterns of colors by varying the pressure of the blown air / (Sending message display) humidity of blown air. A wide range of spectrum can Figure (2.a) & (2.b) Sending Message via Mobile using Blo be produced and being an interactive game for children by relating air to color it explores a new possibility. This could also be an alternative to play V. HOW DOES BLO WORK ? Holi - A festival of colors in India or Abroad by integrating it with the networking and wireless Blo works by taking the blown air input from user communication technology. This virtual coloring can that is sensed by the sensors against different protect people from getting hurt/can save lot of parameters like temperature, pressure, humidity, water/can be played across the globe. duration of the flow, chemical compounds. Generating colors on the basis of taste: For The data is then recorded in the microprocessor (like example if lemon is tasted and air is blown into the arduino[5] , PC etc.) and the values which fall in the Blo device, the compounds in the vapor have certain threshold limits are considered and processed. chemical compounds that are detected by the sensor According to the program the different values and a color pertaining to lemon and thus yellow can recorded give different outputs. Figure (3) shows the be projected. Similarly with other flavors various system design of Blo. colors can be mapped. The game interprets the taste Of course the sensors used, the processor, as color. the program depends on the scenario in which Blo device is used. Since the work is in the conceptual Remotely operating mechanical operations phase I would prefer to provide the technical with much less effort: Increasing/ Decreasing the specifications, samples later after prototyping. speed of fan, closing / opening the door can be done through simply blowing the air. Clearing the text on PC monitors, usually we have the tendency to wipe of the dust by blowing air. Similarly we can use the act to clear off the text on the screen. Sending the text message in mobiles (See Figure 2.a & 2.b) are others which strongly connect to the human behaviors or natural actions.
  4. 4. Listening mode: There are several possible listening or input modes with Blo. Always listening – The device is always ready to take the Blo-input and responds with the appropriate action. Push to blow – The device can be made ready to accept the Blo-input by pushing a button, especially in the computer applications and mobile usage scenario to send messages, to clear text etc. Blow the air after pressing a button and the device is active and taking the input till the button is pressed again. This is useful in coloring game scenario where the user can switch on the device, play and again put it off. Figure (3). Blo-System Design Acknowledgement: Screen layout, colors, and background music also VI. MODES AND FEATURES OF BLO create moods in multimodal user interfaces. A background music acknowledging the Blo-input and color and visual display would enhance the Some of the features incorporated on Blo to make the interactivity. users comfortable during the interactions. [6] Operational status: Users need to know when the device is listening to VII. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT them speak and when the device is not listening. Operational status can be presented as an LED light indicating the operational status of the device and By integrating it with touch/text and voice we can also indicating the power status and in case of battery enhance interface model since its appeal is very usage the status can be displayed as how much longer natural to human and as it can blend well. The the device will be operational. combination of the other modalities gives a greater Also since Blo device is used by users with control and more combinations to interact with visual impairments a vibration technique can be used machines. It can really help in the multitasking to denote the power when the device is low environments, where the user is restricted to limited on charge it vibrates with a warning tone. limbic actions, with respect to the human-computer interaction Blo can bring an easy, natural and hands free way to control better and have richer interaction. Alternate Option: Further work can be done in making a simple If the user doesn’t want to use Blo in any case there language by observing the patterns in Blo-inputs. is an alternate option to operate or perform the Development of more applications in different activity through other input modes (push buttons, text environments (automotives, learning etc.) simplifying input etc) provided according to the scenario. or enhancing the interactivity. I would materialize this concept by building a Response time: prototype. Later would take it forward by doing a Response times greater than 5 seconds will user experience study to evaluate the effectiveness of significantly reduce usage. If a response time exceeds this multimodal interaction. this limit, the user is informed that the computer is busy processing the request.
  5. 5. VIII. CONCLUSION Human being today is surrounded by various technology and gadgets thus in turn increasing the possibilities of new interfaces and interactivity. A good design is the one that puts least information load and that uses the existing natural actions/habits to interact. Blo is an idea on these lines which can bring many more possibilities and enhancements in the Human Computer/Machine Interaction field. It can open the doors of new applications by capturing the natural actions of the human behavior without any enforcement on the users. It qualifies as a universal design as it considers users across ages, cultures, sex, disabilities. The usability factor here has been addressed by considering various conditions and situation; however it can be further maximized by coupling it with other modalities in interface. IX. REFERENCES [1] Metaphors and Multimodal Interaction - Dorothy Rachovides, Zoë Swiderski, Alan P. Parkes [2] [3] nhalation [4] ma_compounds_classified_by_structure [5] Arduino ( [6]