With advancements in technology and the impact of consumerism in our society, we now find ourselves surrounded by a myriad of devices. Personal computers, smart phones, and tablets are examples of digital devices that have become fragments of our daily life.
Although they provide us with a rich set of interactions with the digital domain, they disconnect us from our physical surroundings. We believe that connecting the digital world with our physical surroundings in a prevailing manner could yield significant benefits.
There have been attempts to design systems for either extracting information from the physical surrounding , or data transfer between digital devices. Most of these systems require special instrumentation of the environment, devices or both. This limits the natural interactions due to the imposed constraints. Therefore, we focus on exploring methodologies to create a ‘seamless channel’ that links personal digital devices and physical objects without special instrumentation of the environment or the device.
One of the key characteristics shared by both digital devices and physical objects is their physical appearance such as colors, dimensions, textures, etc. This motivated us to use visual information to connect devices, objects and people.
In this paper, we demonstrate a method to create a seamless information media ‘channel’ between the physical and digital worlds. Our prototype, SmartFinger, aims to achieve this goal with a finger-worn camera, which continuously captures images for the extraction of information from our surroundings. With this metaphorical channel, we have created a software architecture which allows users to capture and interact with various entities in our surroundings.
Our goal was to make this interaction seamless by developing a technology that feels like a natural extension of the body and behavior. For example, a person might be able to point at a device and make a virtual connection to it, point at an object to extract/copy relevant information, point at another person to share digital contents, etc.
The interaction design space of SmartFinger is discussed in terms of smart-connection, smart-sharing and smart-extraction of information. We believe this work will create numerous possibilities for future explorations.
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