Tangible Instant Messaging

Gaurav Bhalotia, Anthony Gagliano1, Elizabeth Yang2, and Margaret Yau3
(Professor Anind Dey)

Since its introduction in 1996, the use of instant messenger tools has grown exponentially. Instant messenger (IM) supports two key human needs: presence information and instant communication. However, users of IM only have access to these key needs when their select peers have the technology available. Limiting factors include people who do not have computers, people who do not have a continuous connection at home, and lastly, people who do have a continuous connection but are not sitting in front of their computers at all times. Our goal is to provide people with access to awareness information and instant messages via tangible objects. These tangible objects are devices that users can carry with them while mobile or can situate throughout their environment to provide information as users move in it. We are investigating a number of display techniques for these devices including fabric and paint that change colors when exposed to heat or light, physical objects with mobile parts, and tiny displays.

1Undergraduate (EECS)
2Undergraduate (EECS)
3Undergraduate (EECS)

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