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Like Tabletop Interfaces? You can make your own!

by on March 23, 2010

In last Thursday’s March UX Group meeting, Dr. Stacey Scott spoke to us about the exciting projects that she and her team are working on with tabletop interfaces. She brought us through the history of tabletop interfaces and showed us that there has been a large amount of work that brought us from the earliest prototypes, to what we’ve seen with more mainstream products like Microsoft Surface and the SMART Table.

Imagine playing Risk, but on a tabletop interface!

This video shows some the amazing projects that Dr. Scott and her team in the Collaborative Systems Laboratory at the University of Waterloo have been working on. They are focussing on applications for tabletop interfaces in two main areas: 1) military command and control operations  and 2) digital board gaming. One day, the army or navy might be using these systems and we might be able to enjoy digitalized versions of strategy board games (like Risk and Pax Romana) on our own kitchen tables!

Want to build your own tabletop interface?

Well, if you can’t wait and want to try building your own interactive tabletop, you’re in luck! Contact Professor Michael Haller’s Media Interaction Lab in Austria, from which you can order the same kit that Dr. Scott’s team uses for their work. Order the special grid paper and pens, install a projector, set it all up on any table that you have lying around and voila… you’ll be able to tinker with your own tabletop interface!  If you have any luck, you can enter in the SMART Multitouch Application Contest and compete against other developers who are working on surface applications.

Join the new IxDA Waterloo site!

In other news, we have a new IxDA Waterloo site!  Check out the link to see more information, learn about other IxDA events, and gain access to more resources about design and user experience. While there, we encourage you to join IxDA (it’s free) and indicate your membership with IxDA Waterloo. We’re currently looking into ways to combine our current UX group blog with this new IxDA site.

Send us your ideas for future events

The UX group planning commitete brainstormed after last Thursday’s event and we came up with some great ideas for future events. We plan to continue the tradition of “UX drinks” after our monthly events, so we can get together to chat in a more social atmosphere. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

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