Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Where's Wendy" Proposal

I decided to enter UIST Student Innovation Contest, where teams have to use a Microsoft mouse to create a new creation.  My team's creation is going to be a tangible user interface that does not rely on the "normal" computer interaction setup (such as a mouse, monitor and keyboard).  This setup has encouraged my generation (and/or the one under mine) to be more removed from the world engrossed in a computer screen.  To encourage collaboration and socializing, my team decided to have a projector project the display image across the mouse.  We thought a game would be a fun way of encouraging socializing with others and using technology, so "Where's Wendy" was conceived.

The image would be a digital world with a person named Wendy hiding inside of it.  The goal of the user would be to find Wendy by moving around the world, and then looking behind objects.  When the mouse is moved, the location inside of the digital images also moves.  This is very intuitive, as people grow up learning how to move objects by touching them.  To look behind objects, the user would make certain gestures on the mouse such as swiping to the left or right, or stroking up or down.  The ease of using this device will encourage novices to use it.  

We want users of all levels to be able to use this device, especially novices.  Users of all ages over 4 or 5 are also able to use this device because of the simplicity: one uses intuitive qualities that they have known from young ages.  Older users will also have fun with this game because they probably have memories of playing similar games as children, and will have the chance to share the game with their children.

We wanted our approach to be something that has not been seen before and something that was creative in an unexpected way.  Projecting the image on the mouse is similar to the ideas behind a touch screen, but is actually able to provide normal mouse motion input in addition to touch input.  There are related works that also involve using projectors in different ways.  One, MotionBeam, was our inspiration to use a projector in a non-traditional way.  MotionBeam has a projector that the user can actually move around, and gave us the idea that a projector does not need to be in a fixed location.  There are more and more new ideas with the development of handheld projectors, including Spotlight Navigation, Twinkle, Multi-User Interaction using Handheld projectors, and Interacting with Dynamically Defined Information Spaces using a Handheld Projector and a Pen.

Overall, I think this is going to be a great project!  It might be a bit challenging (we do still have to acquire a mini projector and communicate with it), but our creativeness is flowing.  We also have to design a structure that will move the projector with the mouse without wobbling or falling over.  I believe that will be our greatest design challenge.  My team is very excited and we are hoping we can all attend the convention.  We all agreed that the coolest part of the convention would be seeing all of the other creations that students imagined.

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