Imaginary Interfaces is a PhD research project led by Sean Gustafson at the Human Computer Interaction Lab of Prof. Patrick Baudisch at the Hasso Plattner Institute.
Screenless mobile devices achieve maximum mobility, but at the expense of the visual feedback that is generally assumed to be necessary for spatial interaction. With Imaginary Interfaces we re-enable spatial interaction on screenless devices. Users point and draw in the empty space in front of them or on the palm of their hands. While they cannot see the results of their interaction, they do obtain some visual feedback by watching their hands move.
Our user studies show that Imaginary Interfaces allow users to create simple drawings, to annotate with them and to operate interfaces, as long as their layout mimics a physical device they have used before. We demonstrate how this allows an imaginary interface to serve as a shortcut for a physical device and we believe that ultimately Imaginary Interfaces will lead to the development of standalone ultra-mobile devices.