This interaction design project investigates “touch” input to computer systems. The objective of this project was to research and design simultaneous and continuous touch based interaction as a major means of computer input, in specific scenarios.
The project started by limiting its scope to multitouch technology in a multi-user semi-public environment. Multitouch being a new human-computer interaction technique, a general understanding of multitouch systems was established. Existing systems and the technology behind them were studied in detail. The need for designing multi-modal interfaces was established next.
After initial research and studies, I narrowed down to a specific client project called Project Al Zorah. I worked with the team at Natural User Interface (NUI), Sweden, to conceptualise, develop and build a large-scale multitouch system to be showcased in CityScape, Abu Dhabi 2008, the International Property Investment and Development Event in the United Arab Emirates. This helped me narrow down my research focus in a specific direction.
A working multitouch prototype was placed at strategic places in exhibitions and users were invited to play with it. Video footage was recorded. The insight and inferences gathered in the research phase were utilized in designing the software package and interaction for project Al Zorah. A vast variety of exploration was developed. However, due to constraints of various types, only one design was finalized and implemented.
Being an interface design student, I have been intrigued by emerging technology supporting interaction that goes beyond the conventional personal computer. I believe that in future, these computers will disappear into the background and seamlessly integrate into the existing infrastructure of our homes and public spaces. The project was a sincere attempt to look at an emerging technology from a design point of view, to understand its potential users, potential benefits and importantly potential pitfalls.