designs twist on software
Virtual shapes created on
a computer screen by manipulating ShapeTape, a flexible
2003 -- U of T researchers have created software that will enable
users to twist, bend, push and pull shapes in two and three
work represents a completely different way of interacting with
computers," says Professor Ravin Balakrishnan of U of T's Department of Computer Science, who led
the research. "It moves away from the 'one-size-fits-all' keyboard
and mouse paradigm to more specialized tools for specialized tasks."
team's software allows users to create virtual shapes on a computer
screen by manipulating a flexible tool called ShapeTape in
tandem with a foot pedal. ShapeTape, which looks like a long
rubber ribbon, has a spring steel core and is embedded with fibre
optic sensors. The tape, which is physically held in both hands, can
be twisted and bent to change sizes and shapes on screen. It can
also locate shapes in three dimensions. "We're able to do more
things in the virtual world," says Balakrishnan, "while still
maintaining a connection to the physical world."
manipulation of ShapeTape
Balakrishnan says the ShapeTape software could be used
to design and refine technical drawings of virtually any product,
including computers and cars. The research appears in the
Association of Computing Machinery's Computer-Human Interaction
Letters, Volume 5, Issue 1.
Wahl is a news services officer with the department
of public affairs.
Professor Ravin Balakrishnan, Department of Computer Science,
ph: (416) 978-5359; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
U of T
Public Affairs, ph: (416) 978-6974; email: email@example.com