Real-Time Capture of Holistic Tangible Interactions

Virag Varga, Gergely Vakulya, Benjamin Buergisser, Nathan Riopelle, Fabio Zund, Robert W. Sumner, Thomas R. Gross and Alanson Sample

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When digital applications aim to blend virtual and real worlds, understanding the actual physical actions of users becomes an important task; the precise timing of these tangible interaction events is needed, along with the identity, and possibly location and history, of all involved actors/objects. With multiple actors or objects, it is difficult to identify who touches which object and when. Instrumenting objects for Body Channel Communication (BCC) allows message exchange around the human body between instrumented objects and the user themselves. In this paper we show how BCC can be utilized to perform under real-time conditions so that we can directly notice touch events (and the identity of actors). TangibleID is a framework that unifies tangible interaction capture for objects and users based on wearable BCC. TangibleID provides identification and communication with tagged objects/users in less than 120 ms and supports a variety of tangible interactions, without the need to restrict user (hand) movements or to maintain line-of-sight connection to cameras. When an AR application is combined with TangibleID, a new tangible mixed reality experience is achieved, as demonstrated in the “Haunted Castle” showcase. The paper presents an end-to-end technical evaluation including trade-offs regarding robustness and speed of touch recognition, outlines the breadth of interaction modalities, and reports on an initial user assessment.

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