“Point of No Return” Status Update

(This post is still open and being actively edited, as a virtual whiteboard of ideas…)

Earlier this year, my time was occupied by preparing for this thesis and preparing for the TRKBRD presentation at the IxDA conference. I spent time upgrading the hardware and software of the TRKBRD, and writing and creating my slides. Even though this delayed spending time researching my core idea for the thesis, I felt it was more important to be prepared and have a successful presentation. This time away from the research has now caught up with me and brought me to a cross-roads in how I will proceed on my thesis. I have recently found multiple research articles and filed patents that make much of my proposed thesis redundant or obsolete. What thesis will I carry forward? How will I use what I have gained in the Masters program so far to my advantage now? How will I adjust my thesis ideas?

SUI=Stacked User Inputs, Creating independent layers of input interaction

[+] The concept of stacking layers for independent interaction has been patented by Arne L. Duwaer of the Netherlands. (Google Patents) **Correction** This patent is related to the “stacking” of 2 previously mutually-exclusive input devices. This patent is the idea of combining 2 types of input: touch from a finger, and touch of a stylus pen, to create a surface that can accept both types of input.

* A TRKBRD-like device has already been patented. (Google Patents)

[+] The term “SUI” has not been defined to my knowledge. Could this be an opportunity to collect, analyze, and frame the body of knowledge to date? This was one piece of my original direction.

[+] Based on collected research and past findings, what new interactions could I explore as an Interaction Designer? Video prototype potential future states. More time and learning could be spent on the production of these video vignettes.


SUI=Stacked User Input, through combinations of gestures, touch, and physical buttons.

* a variation on the theme: “Stacking User Input” through use of bimanual (both hands) touch and gestures. Can the combination of gestures and other types of input be combined to create “stacked input” or “stacked gestures”? This theme would have more of a focus on gestures, which I had previously not included as much.


An invisible “touch field” can offer new possibilites of interaction, when the technology is independent from the surface itself.

[+] I have already created the technology that allows the touch technology to be independent from the touch surface. The core components of the TRKBRD allows ANY surface to be touch sensitive. The components could be extracted and then modularized to make the process of creating a touch surface quicker and easier. Modularizing the electronics would expose me to learning additional skills that I am interested in, related to electronics and prototyping (adding more “fun” to the thesis).

[-] Extensive research has not been completed to know the relevance and framing of this thesis idea.

[+] There is momentum and interest in the technology behind the TRKBRD design. I consistently get 10-50 video plays per day, on my related videos online. A Computer Science professor in Morocco has requested the schematics and code for the TRKBRD design to extrapulate it to a larger surface.

[+] Based on the positive experience I had with physical prototyping, this thesis would produce a knowledge contribution that would aid others in physical prototyping too.

[-] Rely too much on building technology?


Physical prototyping is not for everyone.

[+] Based on the positive experience that I had with my physical prototyping project, determine if the same experience is possible for anyone. What prevents someone from using Arduino?

[-] Extensive research has not been completed to know the relevance and framing of this problem area.

[-] Lacks relation to interaction design.

* A provocative approach to illustrating the value of physical prototying while potentially discovering “pain points” for people that have been reluctant of using it.


Brainstorming sessions on the whiteboard in the studio…

Comparing keywords in describing UIs

Notes on various aspects

"SUI Toolbox" idea

Free association of device concepts

Trends and predicting future state

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