Audio books have significantly gained in popularity in recent years driven by online distribution. However, this requires the users to possess and to be able to operate a smartphone or similiar computer. In the below video, I showcase a prototype for a tangible audio book I created that automatically plays the audio from USB when it is opened. Different audio books can be played from different USB sticks. Hence, this device can be used drawing on a book metaphor only and does not demand any further interactions. When the book is closed and reopened again, it continues at the last position.

Read More: Tangible and Accessible Audio Book (2017)

I created the UbiKit for my teaching. Its main components are a screen in a wooden casing named the UbisScreen and the UbiUbi, which can be connected to the screen via USB. UbiScreen and UbiUbi together form the UbiKit (UbiScreen + UbiUbi = UbiKit).

The UbiUbi is an enhanced clone of the MakeyMakey, i.e., it is a keyboard and mouse emulator that can turn conductive materials into human input devices. To this end, various connector-ports on the UbiUbi allow connecting switches and keys by using alligator clips. For instance, a button made of Play-Doh could be connected to the ‘left-click’ port and a banana could be connected to the letter ‘a’ port (and so on). Touching the Play-Doh button would then result in a ‘mouse-clicked’ event and biting into the banana would type the letter ‘a’. This again, could trigger the display of different screen mock-ups on the wooden box. In summary, the UbiKit depicts a set of devices and tools to be taken home by the students and to be transformed into a rapidly developed tangible prototype. Here, The main focus is on screen-based interactions and on prototyping innovative and often playful interfaces for user input. UbiKit was made for early design explorations and removes heavy engineering or coding from the process.

Read More: UbiKit including UbiUbi (2016)

Within the framework of the net:25 conference, Oliver Hödl and and me had the chance to deploy interactive Art installations following the invitation of Prof. Peter Reichl. The conference was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Internet in Austria and for this reason the State Opera House live broadcasted Richard Strauss’s Salome into the Vienna University’s great ballroom, where the conference was held. In a smaller ballroom (next to the great one) Oliver and me setup a couple of sensor chairs that controlled the projection of an  animated moon (note, the moon plays a central role within the Salome opera). Below the projected moon, we installed a large TV set featuring the livestream of the State Opera House. We invited the visitors of the conference to take a seat - whenever a seat was newly taken, the color of the moon changed, and it changed its direction towards the person who most recently took a seat.

Read More: Salome Interactive Installation (2015)

Tools for digital fabrication are fascinating enabling technologies which facilitate the design of interactive technologies and user experiences. In order to be able to create my prototypes I assembled my own 3D printing kit (Anycubic Prusa i3) as shown in the below video.

Lately, amateur CNC routers became available at a reasonable price as well, and therefore I also wanted to have my very own device. Please find below some images and demo videos of my CNC machine based on the Shapeoko. It took quite some time to assemble it or learn how to use it, and the device quickly became one of my favourite 'pet projects’. While this CNC is not targeted at a highly professional audience, it still enables us to perform a number of important and basic tasks in the prototyping process, for example, cutting wooden boxes as casings, engraving PCB circuits, plotting text and blueprints on larger scale, or cutting acrylics. In some situations, it can also replace typical lasercutting jobs, if such a machine should not be available.

Read More: 3D Printer and CNC Router

This project's objective was to create a cheap and personalized trackball by hacking existing hardware.

Trackballs are often used by people with motor disabilities as alternative input devices to the conventional computer mouse. However, this kind of equipment is rather expensive and, to little surprise, there are not many choices in different devices compared to regular input hardware. For this reason, I aimed to create a cheap solution based on some hacked hardware that can be used both for personal computers and mobile phones.

Read More: Trackball-Hack for Android (2014)

Smart phones and tablet computers offer unprecedented opportunities to create rich user experiences that incorporate the context in which the interaction is situated. Sensors and other built-in technologies provide designers with a variety of possibilities for new and exciting applications. However, development cost is expensive and thus there is a desire for efficient prototyping methods.

For this reason, my colleague Roman Ganghör and I are creating the FamOz (Fast mobile Wizard of Oz) prototyping tool. Our approach is to adapt established prototype techniques intended for desktop computing systems to the needs of prototyping for mobile. FamOz operates at a low-fidelity level and combines the convenience of paper prototypes with the interactivity offered by modern mobile phones. We aim to use it as a prototyping tool in our own lectures, as at times neither paper prototyping nor other mock-up tools such as balsamiq deliver the kind of result we desire.

Read More: FamOz - Fast Mobile Wizard of Ozzing (2013-2014)

The TV Companion is an application aimed to address the societal issue of prolonged TV consumption with its related potential negative effects and aims to foster more reflective TV viewing among children and their parents.

The TV Companion device (see figure) is comprised of a wooden chasing and RFID tokens. Each RFID token corresponds to a certain amount of time for 'unllocking' the TV. The chasing, on the other hand, includes a RFID reader, micro-controller, audio module and universal TV remote control. It can be painted by the children as they wish in order to provide them with a sense of ownership.

Read More: TV Companion (2010-2012)

Camlink is a technology probe for exploring tangible computing applications based on visual object recognition. That is, the device allows users to associate certain actions to physical objects, for example, loading and starting a certain playlist of MP3 music files.

We have seen a lot of such applications before, making use of RFID tags or QR codes. The specific feature of Camlink however is, that it does not rely on these technologies. There is no need to attach one of these tags, as Camlink uses machine vision algorithms to recognize objects by their plane visual appearance (no QR code needed, the 'natural' visual pattern of the object is sufficient). The user simply puts an object into the small Camlink box (built for filming the objects under constant light conditions) and the application starts the associated operation. New operations can also be assigned to additional objects and thus the collection of ‘tangible computer commands’ can be extended gradually.

Read More: Camlink (2009-2010)