“Pinning objects to wall-sized displays”

“Blurring the line between real and digital: Pinning objects to wall-sized displays”

by Daniel Stødle, Otto J. Anshus (2008)

  1. Attempt to replicate the interaction and experience of a “billboard” through advanced technology. A “billboard” being an area on a wall, or a bulletin board, where you can post small messages, posters for events, or “wanted” or “for sale” posters.
  2. “On a billboard, users are less concerned about drawing or writing, and care more about leaving content of some kind behind for other users to see.”
  3. Three important requirements for their Wallboard:
    1. A user should not have to use any special equipment, wear anything, or be fitted with any “markers”.
    2. Content should appear where a user is holding it, and be able to pin the content anywhere.
    3. Content should appear instantly (relatively).
  4. Extensive technology to create Wallboard: 16 floor-mounted cameras, 8 Mac minis, video camera with pan-tilt-zoom control, 28 projectors forming a 22 megapixel 7168×3072 display, and optional microphones.
  5. “Instead of determining what an object is, it is more fundamental to determine where it is.”
  6. Extensive software was written for this setup, including the ability to create 2 vertical planes in the video cameras. These 2 planes were used to determine when content was being held up to the wall, and when a finger was touching the wall.
  7. Procedure:
    1. User holds up a paper to post to the wall.
    2. Video cameras see the breaking of the 2 vertical planes by the paper and hand.
    3. Paper is held in place for a second.
    4. System determines position and size of paper on the wall.
    5. Pan-tilt-zoom video camera moves and zooms to zero in on content on the wall. Takes a photo!
    6. System processes image.
    7. Photo of content appears on the wall, in the same location that it was held up to.
    8. Total time: 1-3 seconds.

My thoughts:

  • Very interesting way of using floor-mounted video cameras to triangulate finger position on the wall!
  • Item #5 is very interesting! Especially for a billboard, the content doesn’t matter. For another project, in a different world, I think the project team would not have realized this and pushed for capabilities that didn’t add value in the long run. The technology does not need to know meaning, let a human conceive and determine that. The human here is determining the importance of posting something on the billboard, determining the content, and determining position on the wall. Arguably a computer could do the same thing, and even add value such as grouping like posts, making sure nothing is overlapping, or modify the content for higher value. This team said NO! Credit to them for doing so.
  • I take inspiration from their 2 vertical planes of interaction created by the floor-mounted cameras. In their design, they are only using the planes to determine a single human interaction, and filter out actions that could confused the system. What if more than 2 planes were created? Could gestures be created to augment content creation, or create ways of interacting with the content after it has been added?
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