How will we interact with displays that come in any shape imaginable? What new
interaction principles and visual designs become possible when curved computers
are a reality?
tion Amanda Parkes, Ivan Poupyrev, and Hiroshi
Ishii examine kinetic interaction design as an area of
research in OUI. In a sidebar, artist Sachiko Kodama
gives her thoughts on the use of physical transformability in interactive art forms. Finally, architects Kas Oosterhuis and Nimish Biloria outline
their vision of a future in which entire buildings and
cities are made out of networks of actuated, interactive, organic computers.
ORGANIC USER INTERFACES
These three general directions together comprise
what we refer to in this section as Organic User
Interfaces: User interfaces with non-planar displays
that may actively or passively change shape via analog physical inputs. We chose the term “organic” not
only because of the technologies that underpin
some of the most important developments in this
area, that is, organic electronics, but also because of
the inspiration provided by millions of organic
shapes that we can observe in nature, forms of
amazing variety, forms that are often transformable
and flexible, naturally adaptable and evolvable,
while extremely resilient and reliable at the same
time. We see the future of computing flourishing
with thousands of shapes of computing devices that
will be as scalable, flexible, and transformable as
organic life itself.
We should note that the OUI vision is strongly
influenced by highly related areas of user interface
research, most notably Ubiquitous and Context-aware Computing, Augmented Reality, Tangible User
Interfaces, and Multi-touch Input. Hiroshi Ishii
opens this section by exploring some of those historical trends that led to OUIs. Naturally, OUIs incorporate some of the most important concepts that have
emerged in the previous decade of HCI, in particular
embodied interaction, haptic, robotic, and physical
interfaces, computer vision, the merging of digital
and physical environments, and others. At the same
time, OUIs extend and develop those concepts by
placing them in a framework where our environment
is not only embedded with billions of tiny networked
computers, but where that environment is the interface, physically and virtually reactive, malleable, and
adaptable to the needs of the user.
There has always been a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship between advances in basic computing technologies and HCI research. New
technologies inspire new interface paradigms, while
new interfaces utilizing these emerging technologies
encourage their continued refinement by revealing
aspects most useful in their application. We hope
the ideas and projects presented in this special section encourage a dialogue on organic design that
inspires designers and HCI researchers to invent
that future reality in which these exciting technologies will benefit people in their natural ecologies.
And we hope these stories inspire physicists and
engineers alike to continue inventing and refining
the very basic technologies so critical to realizing the
future of computing. c
1. Goldstein, S., et al. Programmable matter. IEEE Computer 38 (2005);
2. Johnson, J., et al. The Xerox Star: A retrospective. IEEE Computer 22,
(1989), 11– 29.
3.Kay, A. On Dynabook; www.artmuseum.net/w2vr/archiv-
4. Polymer Vision. Readius: eReading Comfort in a Mobile Phone, 2007.
5. Poupyrev, I., et al. D20: Interaction with multifaceted display devices.
Extended Abstracts of ACM CHI’06. (Montreal, 2006), 1241–1246.
6. Vardalas, J. From DATAR to the FP-6000 computer: Technological
change in a Canadian industrial context. IEEE Annals of the History of
Computing 16, 2 (1994).
ROEL VERTEGAAL ( email@example.com) is an associate professor of
Human-Computer Interaction at Queen’s University in Ontario,
Canada, where he directs the Human Media Laboratory.
IVAN POUPYREV ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a member of the Interaction Laboratory at Sony Computer Science Labs, Inc. in Tokyo, Japan.