Information Cloth

We expand multitouch tabletop information exploration by placing 2D information on a physically-based cloth in a shallow 3D viewing environment. Instead of offering 2D information on a rigid window or screen, we place our information on a soft flexible cloth that can be draped, pulled, stretched, and folded with multiple fingers and hands, supporting any number of information views.

Interaction with information cloth on a SMART Table.

Combining our multitouch flexible information cloth with simple manipulable objects provides a physically-based information viewing environment that offers similar advantages to complex detail-in-context viewing. Previous detail-in-context views can be re-created by draping cloth over virtual objects in this physics simulation, thereby approximating many of the existing techniques by providing zoomed-in information in the context of zoomed-out information. These detail- in-context views are approximated because, rather than use distortion, the draped cloth naturally drapes and folds showing magnified regions within a physically understandable context.

Cloth approximating a perspective wall lens. Cloth approximating a melange lens.

In addition, the information cloth remains flexibly responsive, allowing one to tweak, unfold, and smooth out regions as desired.

Information on a wrinkled and bunched cloth.

The information cloth software was developed using C++, OpenGL, and NVidia PhysX and was designed to run on a SMART Table 230i.

For more information please refer to the published paper and related materials:
  • Kimberly Mikulecky, Mark Hancock, John Brosz, and Sheelagh Carpendale
    Exploring Physical Information Cloth on a Multitouch Table
    In ITS 2011.
    Paper: [PDF 18 MB]
    Presentation: [PDF 5 MB]
    Video: [Video WMV 25 MB]
By John Brosz, February 2012. Comments, suggestions or questions? If so, email me ([email protected]).