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Tilted Screen Displays Developed for Mobile Devices

Sriram Subramanian (University of Bristol)

Sriram Subramanian (University of Bristol)

Computer scientists at University of Bristol and Lancaster University in the U.K. and Nokia Research Center in Tampere, Finland created a display technology that can physically adjust parts of the screen at different angles to provide more dramatic 3-D effects. The developers of the Tilt Displays, as the screen is called, will discuss the technology at this week’s MobileHCI (human computer interaction) conference in San Francisco.

Tilt Displays is a surface somewhat smaller than the standard tablet, such as the Apple iPad.  The display surface is divided into individual components each of which can tilt along one or more axes and move vertically up and down. The latest Tilt Displays prototype has nine individual units, three down and three across.

The researchers, led by Bristol’s computer graphics professor Sriram Subramanian (pictured right), studied the way people reacted to the Tilt Displays to better understand potential user interactions and opportunities for software applications. The findings show the test subjects were positive about the Tilt Display concept, associating Tilt Displays to new ways of presenting and consuming 3-D content.

The researchers, in a second study, examined the ways users manipulate the surface of the Tilt Displays. The team found users prefer on-screen gestures for interactions on flat, two-dimensional surfaces, but mid-air versions of the same gestures when the screen transforms into a 3-D display. The researchers say this adjustment in preference suggests an ability for users to develop new interaction behaviors when using the Tilt Displays.

“We can imagine many scenarios that would benefit from the physicality offered by Tilt Displays,” says Subramanian, including “collaboration, terrain modeling, 3-D video that is beyond auto-stereoscopic 3-D, and tangible gaming.” He cautions, however. that “we need to establish whether users can relate to the new experiences and advantages of using such a device.”

The following video shows the Tilt Displays prototype in action.

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