Beyond Flat Displays
Towards Shaped and Deformable Interactive Surfaces
Jürgen Steimle, Daniel Leithinger, Pol Pla, Pattie Maes; MIT Media Lab

Call for Participation

Abstract: Interactive tabletops and surfaces draw their success to a large part from offering natural interactions. They allow users to interact with digital resources much like they interact with objects in the real world: by touching and manipulating them with their hands and fingers. In addition, many systems leverage tangibles that can be used on top of the interactive surface, to allow for an even higher degree of real-world behavior. However, most often, the interactive surface itself is flat, rectangular, and rigid. In contrast, most physical objects are 3D shaped, curved, and/or deformable. What if the interactive surface itself incorporates these characteristics rather than just providing a scene for such tangible objects? We are interested in exploring how alternative shapes and material characteristics of interactive surfaces can enable innovative applications and novel interactions. This tutorial will provide a comprehensive overview of prior research and technologies in shaped and deformable interactive surfaces.

Bio: Jürgen Steimle is a visiting assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab and head of an independent research group at Saarland University and Max Planck Institute of Informatics. He is passionate about designing interactive surfaces that have the affordances and flexibility of paper. His current research focuses on user interfaces for different types of flexible displays, including rollable and foldable displays. He holds a PhD in computer science from Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany.

Bio: Daniel Leithinger is a Ph.D. candidate in the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab. His current research focuses on actuated tangible interfaces and interactive spaces. Prior to joining the Media Lab, Daniel completed his M.Sc. at the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, Hagenberg and worked at research institutes like the Futurelab (Linz, Austria), HITLab (Christchurch, NZ), Media Interaction Lab (Hagenberg, Austria), Interactive Media Lab (Singapore) and Disney Research Lab (Pittsburgh, US). His work has been published at conferences like ITS, TEI, CHI and UIST, and demoed at venues like Siggraph, TEI, and Ars Electronica. He has received awards at the UIST Student Innovation Contest 2011, Siggraph Research Challenge 2009, RTT Emerging Technology Contest 2008 and 2011, Laval Virtual ReVolution Award 2007, Europrix Top Talent Award 2005 and 2006, and Austrian State Prize for Multimedia 2005.

Bio: Pol is a PhD candidate at the Fluid Interfaces Group at the MIT Media Lab. He is interested in exploring the affordances of novel shapes of displays and how information representation could use them to become more intuitive and expressive. He cofounded Multitouch Barcelona an artistic collective that explored natural interaction between people and technology, specially but not uniquely with multi-touch technologies. He graduated Multimedia Engineering by Ramon Llull University (Barcelona) and he holds a Masters in Cognitive Science and Interactive Media by Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) and a Masters in Media Arts and Sciences by MIT (Cambridge, MA).

Bio: Pattie Maes is an associate professor, and holder of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos chair in MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences. She founded and directs the Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces group. Previously, she founded and ran the Software Agents group. She currently acts as the associate Department Head for the Media, Arts and Sciences Department. Prior to joining the Media Lab, Maes was a visiting professor and a research scientist at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. She holds bachelor's and PhD degrees in computer science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. Her areas of expertise are human-computer interaction, intelligent interfaces and ubiquitous computing. Maes is the editor of three books, and is an editorial board member and reviewer for numerous professional journals and conferences. She has received several awards: Newsweek magazine named her one of the "100 Americans to watch for" in the year 2000; TIME Digital selected her as a member of the Cyber-Elite, the top 50 technological pioneers of the high-tech world; the World Economic Forum honored her with the title "Global Leader for Tomorrow"; Ars Electronica awarded her the 1995 World Wide Web category prize; and in 2000 she was recognized with the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council.