Ultra-tangibles: creating movable tangible objects on interactive tables

Mark Marshall, Tom Carter, Jason Alexander, Sriram Subramanian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

40 Citations (Scopus)
473 Downloads (Pure)


Tangible objects placed on interactive surfaces allow users to employ a physical object to manipulate digital content. However, creating the reverse effect - having digital content manipulate a tangible object placed on the surface - is a more challenging task. We present a new approach to this problem, using ultrasound-based air pressure waves to move multiple tangible objects, independently, around an interactive surface. We describe the technical background, design, implementation, and test cases for such a system. We conclude by discussing practical uses of our system, Ultra-Tangibles, in the creation of new tangible user interfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450310154
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameCHI '12


  • User interface device
  • tangible interface
  • feedback
  • ultrasound
  • actuated tabletops


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