controllers. Proc. of CHI’ 13. ACM, 2013.
7. Hollan, J., Hutchins, E., and Kirsh,
D. Distributed cognition: Toward a
new foundation for human-computer
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of CHI’06. ACM, 2006.
Jean-Luc Vinot is an associate professor at
the Interactive Computing Laboratory at ENAC
in Toulouse. He is a graphic designer and an
HCI expert in the fields of ATC and aeronautics.
His current research focuses on the design
of safety-critical systems, graphical user
interfaces, and tangible interaction.
Catherine Letondal is a researcher at the
Interactive Computing Laboratory at ENAC
in Toulouse. After completing a Ph.D. on
participatory programming, she studied the
use of the digital pen by contemporary music
composers. Her current research themes are
tangible interaction and adaptation of software
design processes to various contexts.
Rémi Lesbordes is both an air traffic
controller and an HMI expert for the French
civil aviation authority (DSNA). Co-founder of
the Strip' TIC project, he also works on 3D and
augmented reality applied to the integration of
drones in real traffic.
Stéphane Chatty is the head of the
Interactive Computing Lab ( lii-enac.fr) at Ecole
Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC, Toulouse,
France) and a scientific advisor at IntuiLab
( intuilab.com, Labège, France). He specializes
in engineering methods, tools, and theories
for the design of highly interactive and critical
Stéphane Conversy is a professor of
computer science at the University of Toulouse
- ENAC. His research focuses on the design
and programming of interactive tools. He
received his Ph.D. from University of Paris-Sud and his Habilitation from the University of
Christophe Hurter is an associate
professor at the Interactive Computing
Laboratory at ENAC in Toulouse. His
research interests lie in the areas of
information visualization and HCI, with
focus on visualization of multivariate data in
space and time, the design of scalable visual
interfaces, and the development of pixel-based
writing area by pointing at the right side
of the virtual strip underneath.
Tangible computation and cognition.
Currently, controllers need to perform
error-prone calculations and take
significant time to check their results.
Since the traffic is really intense, Tessa
had to put arriving planes in holding
patterns. The strips are organized in two
stacks at approach beacons MOLEK and
ODRAN, but our tactical controller wants
to optimize the arrival sequence in order
to fill potential gaps. As she lays the strips
down, the system automatically calculates
the stack exit time—that the pilot needs to
know—and displays it beside each strip.
She can rearrange the strips as needed to
produce the optimal sequence.
This tangible calculation illustrates
how computing support can
complement physical manipulations,
rather than replace them.
Strip’ TIC gave us the opportunity to
explore mixed interaction in a context
where effective and safe physical
interactions already exist. Unlike
usual TUI approaches that rely on the
mapping of physical objects to virtual
objects, coherence in Strip’TIC relies on
the mapping of virtual objects to physical
objects. Both physical objects and
their associated manipulations have an
inner coherence due to their cognitive
role as external representations—
for controllers, the means of traffic
planning and the programming
of actions. A consequence is that
physical objects represent cognitive
objects rather than virtual ones [ 6].
Additionally, the familiar handling of
paper strips on the stripboard space
allows controllers to manage a mixed
representation space with a perceptual
fusion of both physical support and
marks (printed and inked), and digital
data (projected) in the same movement.
Finally, the manipulation of digital
paper strips on the stripboard supports
externalization of cognitive concerns ,
since the strips and their spatial
arrangements offload the controller’s
cognitive processes related to their
responsibilities toward the flights
crossing their sector [ 2, 4, 5, 7].
Designed with concrete goals,
Strip’TIC emerged as an example
of what we call tangible augmented
reality. In terms of augmented
reality, dynamic top and bottom
projections augment the real physical
strips by providing real-time data
and feedback. As for tangibility,
the strips are also efficient and
graspable interfaces that control the
projection, a sort of tangible window
manager. In fact, by combining
externalization and lightweight
and embodied interactions in
physical space, together with
concurrent access, non-fragmented
visibility, collaborative awareness,
and reconfigurability, Strip’TIC
illustrates several of the main
themes of tangible interaction [ 8]
and distributed cognition [ 7].
Strip’TIC is a research prototype,
and even though our experimental
results are very promising, experience
shows that it is difficult to predict its
operational fate. What is sure is that
it improves our understanding of
the properties and new potential of
paper strips. It demonstrates that the
transition from a disconnected to a
fully connected digital system, beyond
the opposition between paper and
digital, can now occur. It also suggests
that augmented reality and tangible
interaction can be a worthy solution
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paper flight strips in air traffic control.
ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 6, 4
3. Hurter, C., Lesbordes, R., Letondal, C.,
Vinot, JL., and Conversy, S. Strip’ TIC:
Exploring augmented paper strips for air
traffic controllers. Proc. of AVI’ 12. ACM,
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f-ing system! Send ‘em all to the same place
and then expect us to stop ‘em hitting”:
Making Technology Work in Air Traffic
Control, Technical Report EPC-1991-125.
6. Letondal, C., Hurter, C., Lesbordes, R.,
Vinot, JL., and Conversy, S. Flights in my
hands: Coherence concerns in designing
Strip’ TIC, a tangible space for air traffic