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Tangible Tiles

Tangible Tiles combine the advantages of graphical and tangible user interfaces. Inspired by Jun Rekimoto's DataTiles application we used transparent Plexiglas tiles with 15cm width and 10cm height. These Tiles are used for transport and complex manipulation of digital data projected on a tabletop. The transparent canvas of the Tiles is used to show a preview of the contained data or the manipulation technique provided by the specific Tile. Container Tiles, on the one hand, can be used virtually "pick" digital projected data, to create a reference, or a copy of the data set. Function Tiles, on the other hand, provide advanced manipulation facilities for projected data like scaling or erasing data. As the data is virtually "contained" within the Tile, the purely digital data gets "graspable" and thus easier to manipulate for the user in contrast to standard generic input devices like mouse or laser pointer. Based on some findings discovered during the user study for the Tangible Tiles project, some improvements of the Tangible Tiles system were implemented. This improvements include applying physical affordances to FunctionTiles which no longer have a tile shape but their form supports their interaction metaphors. Some changes were made as well regarding the shape of ContainerTiles and the implemented interaction metaphors. A second user study approved the new system.

Insititution: Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences / HITLabNZ
Level: master
Year: 2005 - 2006


Manuela Waldner, Joerg Hauber, Juergen Zauner, Michael Haller, Mark Billinghurst
Tangible Tiles: Design and Evaluation of a Tangible User Interface in a Collaborative Tabletop Setup
In Proceedings of the 18th Australia conference on Computer-Human Interaction: Design: Activities, Artefacts and Environments (OzCHI 2006)
pages 151-158
November 2006
paper [PDF - 3.1 MB]
Best Paper Award

Manuela Waldner
Tangible Tiles: Ein Tangible User Interface zur Verwaltung und Manipulation von digitalen Daten
Master's Thesis
August 2006
thesis [PDF - 9.3 MB]


Pick Tile

Placing a pick tile on projected data binds the data to the tile. Flipping the tile around drops the data back to the table.

Pick Tiles

A user arranges images on the table using multiple pick tiles.


A user manipulates projected imagery using tangible tools.

collaborative tangible user interface

Collaborative work with tangible tiles and tools.

Project List

Manuela Waldner 2004 - 2011