Egocentric Interaction — A Design and Modelling

Egocentric Interaction — A Design and Modelling

  1. Future Experiences will be Increasingly Physical-Virtual

There is a growing consensus within the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) that the keyboard, mouse and visual display of the PC era have to be replaced with something more mobile and more adaptable to situations where interaction with computers until now has simply not been possible. Moreover, presence of interactive computing power literally everywhere implies that the computing systems have to take into account the physical context of their users. Open issues such as these are core problem areas in fields such as Augmented Reality, Tangible User Interfaces, Context Awareness, Ubiquitous and Wearable Computing.

Most existing efforts investigating and designing for the new kind of everyday computing tend to be severely hampered by the absence of a framework that could define the roles of objects in dynamically reconfigured mixed-reality environments. This position paper describes our ongoing work in developing such a framework, incorporating, among other things, the idea of emerging physical-virtual “applications” based on how collections of everyday objects are exposed to a specific human agent in the course of everyday activities.

  1. A Physical-Virtual Design Perspective

Being driven by technology rather than interaction theory, research in the future-oriented HCI areas tends to be based on the prototyping of interactive systems that address one or several aspects of the open issues mentioned in the previous section. Although such prototypes per definition incorporate parts of the physical world into their designs, real-world objects are typically there only for the purpose of facilitating activities in the virtual world. The implicit starting point is the one fostered by classical HCI models: it is in the virtual world important things take place. Physical objects in these prototypes act as mediators between human and virtual environment not very different from how the keyboard, mouse, and visual display does in classical PC applications. Although this approach certainly has proven to be useful in the design of specific applications, we believe that this historically motivated bias towards virtual activity support restricts the design space. In-particular when existing physical everyday objects are to take part in the interaction. I have proposed a more “world-neutral” design perspective where physical objects and activities are seen as just as important components of interactive systems as are virtual objects and activities.

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