Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Week 2 Exercise - Mixed/Augmented Reality Prototype

For this week's exercises we were required to think of a device we use regularly at home and design variations to the way that we interact with that device. To test the different types of input, we were supposed to design a mixed or augmented reality prototype.

One of the most common devices that everyone on our table uses is a television. A remote is the primary way to interact with a television. The most common commands we send to the TV is to change channels, adjust volume, change video inputs and such. However, most remotes are packed with various buttons which can become overwhelming. What if there was another method of performing these basic commands in a much quicker way that is familiar?

In today's world, most of us have smartphones with a touchscreen interface. The primary way we interact with them is with the use of gestures such as swiping, sliding, grabbing/pinching. For our TV operation, we will be bringing these gestures into the mix.

The input device instead of the remote will be a device very similar to a tablet and will be slightly larger than your hand. On the surface is where you will perform your gestures:
  • Swiping left and right will change the channel
  • Sliding your fingers vertically will adjust the volume
  • Grabbing/pinching with all fingers will make the TV image zoom out and display all video inputs
  • All other controls will be available in an icon layout menu which can be accessed on the device
The system will look very similar to the image below, except the tablet device has a very minimal interface. The majority of the screen will be used to the hand gestures and other occasional-use controls will be tucked away in a sliding menu.

Image reference: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/1/prweb9083508.htm
The prototype will mimic the results of the above commands using mixed/augmented reality in order to test the input device. The tablet remote will simply be a plain panel of glass or any smooth surface. The user (tester) will be equipped with the augmented reality (AR) gear while holding the fake input device. The AR equipment will display an image on the TV screen as well as on the device all on the user's visual feed. The user is able to perform gestures on the device which actually appears like they are giving the TV commands. For example, if the user swipes left or right to change channels, the AR's visual feed will show the channel being changed on the TV screen.

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