Acoustruments: Passive, Acoustically-Driven, Interactive Controls for Handheld Devices

SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies, pp. 2161-2170, 2015.

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fabricationuser interfacesmechanisms and controlsmobile and handheld devicesacoustic sensingMore(1+)
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Even end-user applications, can all be constructed from passive elements made of plastic

Abstract:

We introduce Acoustruments: low-cost, passive, and power-less mechanisms, made from plastic, that can bring rich, tangible functionality to handheld devices. Through a structured exploration, we identified an expansive vocabulary of design primitives, providing building blocks for the construction of tangible interfaces utilizing smartpho...More

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Introduction
  • Smartphones and other handheld devices are increasingly being employed in interactive applications that extend beyond their conventional touchscreens.
  • There is a growing class of auxiliary devices that require a smartphone to be plugged in or docked, transforming an otherwise simple object into something with rich and dynamic interactivity, as well as wireless connectivity if needed
  • These include appliances, such as alarm clocks and speakers, to children’s toys, audio mix decks, and even robots.
  • The latter devices can be made less costly by relying on the “smarts” from an expensive, general-purpose computing device.
  • The authors introduce Acoustruments: low-cost, passive, and powerless mechanisms, made from plastic, that can bring rich, tangible functionality to handheld devices
Highlights
  • Smartphones and other handheld devices are increasingly being employed in interactive applications that extend beyond their conventional touchscreens
  • We introduce Acoustruments: low-cost, passive, and powerless mechanisms, made from plastic, that can bring rich, tangible functionality to handheld devices
  • An SMO-based support vector machine was used for training and classification
  • Familiar physical mechanisms, and even end-user applications, can all be constructed from passive elements made of plastic
  • Using technologies like 3D printing, we show that rich physical controls can be rapidly prototyped, providing new methods for experimentation by HCI practitioners
  • Our approach can be extended to traditional fabrication techniques, such as injection molding, milling and machining, which can further drive down cost and improve ease of deployment in consumer products
Results
  • As seen in the video figure, sensing is robust and rapid across a range of sensing types and combinations.
  • It is impossible to train on every possible value, so instead the full sensor range was divided into five equal parts for capturing training data, with ten training instances acquired for each.
  • In both the discrete and continuous cases, only 50 instances were used for model training – a small number by machine learning standards.
Conclusion
  • One of the major limitations of the approach is cross talk.
  • As more structural elements are introduced, signal bandwidth becomes overloaded since cross talk distorts a design primitive’s overall effect in altering the acoustic signal.
  • Devices with higher sampling rates, as well as signal modulation techniques could help mitigate cross-talk effects.
  • One possible solution is to incorporate silence detection and interweave ultrasonic sweeps during quiet portions of playback.Acoustruments are passive, acoustically driven mechanisms that provide rich, tangible functionality to handheld device interaction.
  • The authors' approach can be extended to traditional fabrication techniques, such as injection molding, milling and machining, which can further drive down cost and improve ease of deployment in consumer products
Summary
  • Introduction:

    Smartphones and other handheld devices are increasingly being employed in interactive applications that extend beyond their conventional touchscreens.
  • There is a growing class of auxiliary devices that require a smartphone to be plugged in or docked, transforming an otherwise simple object into something with rich and dynamic interactivity, as well as wireless connectivity if needed
  • These include appliances, such as alarm clocks and speakers, to children’s toys, audio mix decks, and even robots.
  • The latter devices can be made less costly by relying on the “smarts” from an expensive, general-purpose computing device.
  • The authors introduce Acoustruments: low-cost, passive, and powerless mechanisms, made from plastic, that can bring rich, tangible functionality to handheld devices
  • Results:

    As seen in the video figure, sensing is robust and rapid across a range of sensing types and combinations.
  • It is impossible to train on every possible value, so instead the full sensor range was divided into five equal parts for capturing training data, with ten training instances acquired for each.
  • In both the discrete and continuous cases, only 50 instances were used for model training – a small number by machine learning standards.
  • Conclusion:

    One of the major limitations of the approach is cross talk.
  • As more structural elements are introduced, signal bandwidth becomes overloaded since cross talk distorts a design primitive’s overall effect in altering the acoustic signal.
  • Devices with higher sampling rates, as well as signal modulation techniques could help mitigate cross-talk effects.
  • One possible solution is to incorporate silence detection and interweave ultrasonic sweeps during quiet portions of playback.Acoustruments are passive, acoustically driven mechanisms that provide rich, tangible functionality to handheld device interaction.
  • The authors' approach can be extended to traditional fabrication techniques, such as injection molding, milling and machining, which can further drive down cost and improve ease of deployment in consumer products
Related work
  • Our work touches upon several areas including tangible interfaces for mobile devices, fabrication and rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and mobile sensing. We now summarize key related work in these respective domains.

    On-Screen and Around-Device Tangibles Researchers have explored techniques for augmenting interactions on desktops, handhelds, and tabletops with external physical controls using several sensing and fabrication techniques. Huwang et. al. [21] and Liang [25] utilize magnetically-driven tangibles as passive controls for devices equipped with a magnetometer. Capacitively-modulated widgets, such as CapStones and Zebra Widgets [9], SlapWidgets [46], and CapWidgets [23], utilize the device's touchscreen for on-screen tangible interaction. Similarly, camera-based systems [3,44] and fabricated optical elements offer configurable interactive physical controls: in Lumino 3 [3], Baudisch et. al. augment tabletop interaction with fiducially-marked "blocks" assembled using glass fibers; Willis [47] and Brockmeyer et. al. [7] leverage 3Dprinted optical elements for interactive sensing, and display.
Funding
  • Introduces structural elements along the speaker-microphone pathway to characteristically alter the acoustic output
  • Introduces Acoustruments: low-cost, passive, and powerless mechanisms, made from plastic, that can bring rich, tangible functionality to handheld devices
  • Identified an expansive vocabulary of design primitives, providing building blocks for the construction of tangible interfaces utilizing smartphones’ existing audio functionality
Reference
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