Research: Tangible Interaction


Tangible Interaction design work includes computationally enhanced materials, objects, and places of various sorts.  We’ve worked on tangible interaction projects in furniture: adding computationally mediated behaviors to tables, chairs, and more; in music, embedding sensors and actuators in objects to make sound; in tangible interaction that you wear on your body. We’ve built computationally enhanced construction kit toys, and investigated tangible interaction to promote learning.


2012 A tangible computational drum kit with programmable behaviors.


2012 Internally illuminated modular forms that physically deform in response to changes in ambient sound.

Drift Room

2006 A slowly ‘drifting’ projection of an aerial scene on a floor with pressure sensors change the image’s drift direction.

Energy Use Monitor

2004 Two prototype ambient displays that bring energy usage display indoors, break the information into understandable parts, and are easy to read.

Junk Mail to Spam Converter

2004 Scan, mail, and shred your junk mail.

MouseHaus Table

2003 A tabletop tangible interface for the MouseHaus pedestrian simulator.

Navigational Blocks

2002 A tangible user interface for information kiosks.

People Pretzel

2004 A computationally enhanced game board encourages informal social interaction in public spaces.


2011 An interactive picture frame and display reflects changes in the ambient environment .

Sensable Shoes

2009 A hands-free and eyes-free foot-computer interface supports on-the-go interaction with surrounding environments.

Tangible Interaction = Form + Computing

2010 ACM Interactions magazine cover story on tangible interaction design.

Teletables – bilocative interaction

2008 Ambient tabletop displays connect two places by projecting shadows cast on one surface to the other.

The Posture Suspenders

2011 Suspenders that sense posture in real-time and alert the user via vibration to bad posture.

Wear Air

2010 A T-shirt senses and expresses air quality through visually expressive patterns.

Window Seat

2003 Rock and swivel of a chair is an interface for a remote pan and tilt camera.


Embedded sensors and lighting in plywood