Technology and perspectives for AR and TUIs

ARBlocks: A projective augmented reality platform for educational activities

Roberto, R. A. and V. Teichrieb (2012). “ARBlocks: A projective augmented reality platform for educational activities.” 2012 IEEE Virtual Reality (VR).

ARBlocks is a project that uses the playfulness activities as the main approach to teach a topic. Through playfulness activities, the user engages without noticing he or she is learning. It is identified that engagement, accessibility and group learning is promoted when using TUIs.

ARBlock uses uses Voxar Labs for optical tracking. Voxar Labs allows the tracking to be marker-based or marker-less.

One of the best ways to enhance HCI and intuitiveness in interfaces is through natural interaction.

Voxar Labs focuses on research of natural interaction, augmented reality, visualisation and tracking.

TUIs vs. GUIs: comparing the learning potential with preschoolers.

Sylla, C., P. Branco, et al. (2012). “TUIs vs. GUIs: comparing the learning potential with preschoolers.” Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 16(4): 421-432.

TUIs have big potential to promote learning. They are capable of providing long-lasting involvement making children to have a better engagement. Papert has noted through the constructionist approach the importance that physical objects have on the construction of knowledge. Also, Maria Montessori developed a method where children learn by playing with tractable objects. Further on Froebel-inspired Manipulatives combined the Montessori method of learning abstract concepts with the possibility of modelling of objects of the real world. For this reason groups including Lifelong Kindergarten at MIT Media Lab or the MIT Tangible Media Group have been involved in the use of TUIs to assist learning.

The period of graphic communication starts around the age of 4, when they enter the Preschematic Stage. They try to produce objects that relate to their environment. Realistic likeness is not relevant at this stage it would actually interfere with their conception of the object.

Some elements show relevant to children. The use of animation and tangible tools and the novelty effect improve the engagement that children have. Furthermore TUIs provide a long-lasting engagement that promotes learning. Meanwhile GUIs lack the richness of human senses utilised in the real world limiting this way their communication channels.

The use of single image to communicate what they were capable to remember was a good approach since they describe all the elements that they managed to retain or the elements that most impressed them. This makes it easier to understand the impact the interface had on them.

 Tangible user interface of digital products in multi-displays.

Lee, J. Y., M. S. Kim, et al. (2012). “Tangible user interface of digital products in multi-displays.” International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 59(9-12): 1245-1259.

The feedback provided by AR technologies creates the effect of natural interaction. Ubiquitous and mobile environments through mixed reality can enhance learning.

Several inexpensive optical tracking devices like the WiiMote can provide a good solution for implementation.


Editorial: the evolving field of tangible interaction for children: the challenge of empirical validation

Zaman, B., V. Vanden Abeele, et al. (2012). “Editorial: the evolving field of tangible interaction for children: the challenge of empirical validation.” Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 16(4): 367-378.

Improved usability has been related to the implementation of tangibility. It allows utilizing the intuitive skills of the users. TUIs are considered to be more enjoyable than traditional interfaces and allow collaboration. Some superior attributes of TUIs are its explicit input devices, and improved accessibility, also spatial use with the control of a physical object. GUIs usually require more steps in interaction which makes them slower and less efficient compared to TUIs.

With the use of epistemic activities the search for problem-solving is achieved. On the other hand, pragmatic ones will bring the user physically closer to the objective.

Previous experiments have shown that TUIs provide physio-pleasure. The importance of sensory reactions is related to user’s immersion.

When working in collaborative environments, tangible object have different qualities that may put them out of reach or blocking their access making collaborative negotiation different.

When analysing the interface, it is necessary to perform a comparative study. Thorugh this process, there is a comparison of the different interactivity styles on a single object. Evaluation studies will compare the interactivity in between different versions.