Surfaces, tabletops and digital easels


SiDE has particular expertise in the design and development of interactive surfaces and tabletops (hardware and software). We all have experience of working and playing around traditional tables, and digital tabletops are a particularly exciting new form of interactive technology that allow multiple users to leverage this experience and collaborate around the same digital interface in a face-to-face setting. However, the design of tabletop applications has a set of very distinct challenges. The simplest of these is how we can get around the problem of orientation; what appears the “right way up” for one user is “upside down” for the person opposite. More technical challenges include the identification of who is touching the table at any one time, and the protection of private information on digital tables. Interactive surfaces have a particular potential in mental wellbeing applications. With Jesse Hoey & Alex Mihailidis we have developed a multi-touch digital easel for art therapists to use with people with dementia (pictured). SiDE is also collaborating with play therapists in the development of tables to support play therapy sessions with young children.

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Patrick Olivier

Tom Bartindale

Early results of the art therapy work have been published by Jesse Hoey in the paper ePAD: Engaging Platform for Art Development presented at the IJCAI 2009 workshop on Intelligent Systems for Assisted Cognition.