Flexice

A flexible user interface that provides natural haptic feedback while interacting with digital content. It keeps benefits of the physical medium and extends them by a digital system to cre-ate an emotional experience and engage users through gamification.

The project was awarded by the Media- and IT-Initiative Pforzheim (M/IT) in April 2015.

Role
UX/UI Design, Coding

Tech
Xbox Kinect and Processing 1.0

Mentor
Prof. Dr. Matthias Wölfel

Process

Context

The way we interact with most digital media today is via a rigid screen. A touchscreen that can only give artificial haptic feedback and simulate different pressure levels.

My design challenge was to rethink the way we interact with digital content and create an operating concept that goes beyond a rigid surface using advantages of the analog medium and combining it with a digital system.

Research

The exploration of an alternative started with testing different materials, sensors and devices for different behavior and potential. Practical Research resulted in the decision to use a translucent elastic fiber as touchscreen given its natural haptic and ability to adapt to different pressure levels continuously.

Concept

To make this concept a real product I engineered and built an interactive table. A high definition beamer projects the image on the backside of the translucent fibre while a depth camera placed centrally under the table detects touch and movements on screen.

The idea of developing a game that simulates physical laws was a continuation of thinking in natural interactions and proofed to be a good way to bring the concept closer to users.

The most important aspect during prototyping was building soft- and hardware in parallel since there were a lot of physical factors and software needed to be adapted accordingly.

With further development future fields of application could be medical technology, 3D modeling and the gaming industry. The concept provides unique experiences for users and opens up new design areas for creators.