LocaBrowse - The Regional Information Browser and Tangible User Interfaces are Non-WIMP

March 12, 2003
2:50 pm - 4:00 pm
Halligan 111
Speaker: Andrew Tupaj, Nancy Leland & Orit Shaer, Graduate Students
Host: Dr. A. Couch and Dr. R. Jacob


LocaBrowse is a wireless application suite, containing client and server components that are targeted to run on the Palm OS platform for handheld devices. LocaBrowse utilizes Bluetooth Technology and the range limitations therein, to set up a correspondence between spatial location, and information presented by the client software. Conceptually, this project is an effort to provide an everyday user with a "regional" facsimile to the Internet, with the scope of data available limited to the user's field of vision. Academically, this project is an effort to devise a strategy for implementing such a concept upon an existing technology and Application Programming Interface (API). Implementation details include device discovery and disambiguation, and protocol implementation. Tangible User Interfaces represent digital information using physical objects and allow the user to interact with physical objects to manipulate digital information. Since the introduction of Tangible User Interfaces many systems implementing TUIs have been developed. Most of these systems focus on solving specific tasks in spatial or geometric application domains such as urban planning , geographical space and assembly line planning. There are also several TUIs that represent an abstract application domains such as scheduling and queries manipulation. To date, little effort has been aimed at defining the conceptual framework behind TUIs. In this talk we present an introduction to TUIs and a new paradigm for understanding TUIs, which we call the TAC paradigm. The TAC paradigm encompasses the existing classifications of TUIs and provides designers a unified conceptual framework for describing TUIs. This in turn, could provide a basis for creating a toolkit for designing, simulating and testing TUIs. This is a joint work with Robert J.K. Jacob and Eduardo Calvillo of Tufts University.