The craziest projects from a conference on experimental UI

It’s laborious to consider a post-iPhone global, when the touch-screen telephone in our pocket makes means for every other societal obsession.

But subsequent week in Berlin, lots of the global’s main researchers in experimental interfaces are collecting for the ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium. And after taking a look via all the projects on my very own, it’s transparent that there are some radical concepts that anybody who’s serious about interface design, digital and augmented fact, or simply undeniable outdated bizarre tech truly wishes to look.

Drones as a display screen

Smartphones allow us to clutch apps and drag them to any a part of our displays. But what if you need to drag and drop gadgets, unencumbered by means of the principles of physics, in actual lifestyles? GridDrones is a matrix of tiny drone helicopters that should function pixels in midair. Because it’s safe by means of a cage, you’ll maintain every of the drones because it hovers in midair–transferring those “pixels” to create other patterns on a crude “display screen.” You will even program the fleet to precise animations.

GridDrones might not be within shopper electronics anytime quickly, however they constitute a global during which media, and data, can also be tangibly manipulated, and our gadgets can reply to our maximum unrealistic calls for–like floating in midair.

Your arms as an interface

Touch displays are swell till you wish to have to do one thing so simple as right-click–there’s hardly ever a deeper, power-user-friendly layer of controls to liberate inside iOS or Android apps. But Touch+Finger doesn’t simply take a look at the place you contact the display screen. It can see the way you contact the display screen, examining your finger actions to supply extra nuanced controls.

Using a pair of ring sensors, Touch+Finger allows you to zoom by means of scraping your thumb in opposition to your index finger–you’ll additionally disregard one thing by means of flicking your thumb, or shoot digital bullets in a recreation by means of tapping your thumb, too. It mainly uses your arms in a means that a contact display screen does no longer.

Tangible–and inflatable–interfaces

Virtual fact is exceptional, till you take a look at to achieve out and contact one thing. Then your frame realizes that your eyes had been fooled, that the pixels in entrance of you’re simply shimmery illusions.

PuPOP is a balloon that desires to switch that. When you clutch gadgets in VR, the tool inflates itself into more than a few shapes to imitate cubes and cylinders, permitting you to ostensibly contact digital worlds . . . even supposing, for now, the ones worlds really feel like a very complex Ziploc bag.

Tattoos as displays

Is conserving an inflatable bag an excessive amount of for you? Okay, then take a take a look at Tactoo. It’s a brief tattoo that’s simply 35μm thick–which is concerning the width of a human hair–and it doubles as a haptic interface, simulating the texture of branches, leaves, and different textures on your pores and skin, which might be implausible for VR and AR simulations.

The maximum exceptional level, alternatively, is that Tactoo is so skinny, you’ll nonetheless really feel actual gadgets via it. So dressed in the tool doesn’t numb your senses like a glove, however complements them. In different phrases, it’s possible that you need to put on Tactoo in the true global and no longer pass over out on it within the procedure.