A new project aims to ensure that the next generation of computer and mobile display surfaces will extend beyond the rigid, flat surfaces which people are familiar with and allow users to physically push, pull, bend, fold or flex the display.
The collaborative European research team, including Sriram Subramanian, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol, have been awarded €2.47 million by the European Union for the three-year project, known as GHOST “Generic and Highly Organic, Shape-changing inTerfaces”.
GHOSTs are display surfaces made of malleable materials that can change into and retain arbitrary shapes so as to display output from the system or allow new actions. At the same time, GHOSTs enable users to deform, touch, or otherwise manipulate the shape of their display surface to provide input to the system.
The project will bring together a range of partners from across Europe to design, develop and evaluate prototypes to define the current and future challenges of making organic user experiences.
The Bristol researchers will be creating interactive visual surfaces with shape changes at the sub-centimetre scale and with rapid (sub-second) actuation to change forms. The initial prototypes will help understand the technical and scientific challenges of using smart materials to create shape changing input and output technologies.
The Bristol team will be led by Professor Subramanian with co-investigators, Dr David Coyle, Department of Computer Science and Dr Jonathan Rossiter, Department of Engineering Mathematics and research associate, Dr Anne Roudaut, Department of Computer Science.
Professor Sriram Subramanian in the Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, said: “Display technology developments mean the next generation of visual output devices will extend beyond the rigid, flat surfaces with which we are familiar and allow users to physically push, pull, bend, fold or flex the display. This will better represent on-screen content or support new modes of interaction. Such interfaces will also provide many benefits over current user interfaces by enabling people to express and communicate through touch and manipulation of physical objects.”
GHOST, is a collaborative project funded by the EU under the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)-Open program. The project involves various universities across Europe including the University of Bristol, University of Copenhagen, Lancaster University and Eindhoven University of Technology.