An Intuitive Interface for Interactively Pairing Multiple Mobile Devices: Dynamic Reconfiguration of Multiple Screens and a Variety of Content Designs

An Intuitive Interface for Interactively Pairing Multiple Mobile Devices: Dynamic Reconfiguration of Multiple Screens and a Variety of Content Designs

Takashi Ohta
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7371-5.ch001
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We designed an intuitive user interface to connect multiple mobile devices over a network and relate the applications running on them. We proposed a pinching gesture for making a connection between two devices, which is realized by swiping the touch screens of the two annexed mobile devices as if to stitch them together. We believe that this user interface can create new user experiences for multiple-screen usage, especially by designing the application content to react instantly to the connection and disconnection triggered by the gesture. We expect this interface to fulfill a great potential in inspiring application designers to conceive various ideas, particularly suited for visually fascinating content that takes advantage of the dynamic reconfigurable multi-display feature. To demonstrate the potential, we produced some prototype applications. In this article, we explain the idea and details of the interface mechanism, and introduce the design of the sample applications.
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Dynamically Reconfigurable Screens

Displaying visual content on a multi-display can strengthen the impression it makes, by offering an extremely large screen. However, in terms of the audience’s experiences, it would not be much different from the case in which the content is played on a single display, as long as the application of multi-display is restricted to providing a single large screen. Having a different display formation such as the CAVE system may offer a different user experience, but each different display arrangement provides only one alternative. What we desire here is to add more flexible and interactive features to the usage of multiple displays.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Arbitrary Arranged Multi-Display: The devices are placed arbitrary to form a free shaped screen. You can place a device to any four edges at any positioning of another device to form a multi-display, and also in any orientation. However, it is not completely free. A device cannot be placed apart nor in a slanted position.

Reconfigurable: We call it reconfigurable especially when the arrangement of displaying devices consisting a multi-display can be altered during applications are running on them, and the applications will react so that the content will fit into the newly arranged environment.

Network Connection: With our system, all the running application know other applications’ existence when they start to run and are ready to broadcast an information when it is. When two devices are decided to be a pair, they directly exchanging information between them but not broadcasting it to all.

Pinch Gesture: In ordinary mean, Pinch gesture is a swiping action applied onto one touch screen by forefinger and thumb for zooming the screen. In this article, we use the gesture to make a connection of two devices over a network, by putting forefinger and thumb to each of annexed devices.

Relative Placement: In order to make one virtual screen by assembling arbitrary placed multiple display devices, it is necessary to know each devices’ placement in the entire screen. Because it is assumed that all the devices are connected, the placement of all the devices can be deduced by knowing relative positioning of every two devices.

Interactive Pairing: In this article, paring two devices means to connect two devices via network. We attach “Interactive” to express that the paring is done in interactively. That includes not only paring of devices, but also releasing of established network connection and reconnecting with a different device.

Interactive Multi-Display: In general, “Interactive Multi-display” would mean a multi-display environment that has an interactivity with users. In this document, we use the word to represent a system that can be configured or reconfigured interactively.

Event Propagation: In general, a content is divided and delivered to each display in order to form one screen by multiple displays. We employ a different approach for designing some applications; an event is transmitted to a directly attached device in order to make a consistent visual effect at each local application. The summation of all the application’s local response will present a consistent visual as one screen. This application design is more suitable for our dynamically reconfigurable multi-display.

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