People Pen and Computers

Speaker  François Guimbretière

Affiliation  University of Maryland

Host  John SanGiovanni

Duration  01:23:34

Date recorded  16 June 2006

Pen and paper are key aspects of our everyday life. This simple technological system is easy to use, reliable and extremely versatile. Yet, it also stands on the margins of the digital world as information gathered on pen and paper is often difficult to manipulate in the digital realm. Two recent technologies are trying to address this problem. One, the Microsoft Tablet PC platform, is pushing toward a fully digital equivalent of the pen and paper system. The other, the Anoto digital pen technology (used by Logitech io2 pens), captures marks created on paper documents. The broad availability of both systems presents an opportunity for the development of new approaches to bridge the gap between pen and paper interactions and their digital equivalents. In this talk, I will present an overview of several projects supported by the Microsoft Center for Interaction Design and Visualization at the University of Maryland aimed at exploring the potential of these new technologies.

CrossY and Scriboli are two new Tablet PC interfaces specifically designed with pen interactions in mind. CrossY is a simple crossing-based drawing application which substitutes goal crossing for point and click as the basic interaction mechanism. Our work with CrossY showed that crossing-based interfaces are not only as expressive as point and click interfaces, they also offer more flexibility and encourage command composition. Scriboli (developed as a collaboration between Ken Hinckley, Patrick Baudisch, and Gonzalo Ramos and myself) is a pen-based drawing application that explores new command structures to improve the fluidity of pen interactions. By allowing for complex command structures while limiting reliance on modes, Scriboli is particularly well adapted to creative work environments (e.g., brainstorming) which traditionally rely heavily on pen and paper.

The Paper Augmented Digital Documents (PADD) system uses a digital pen to bridge the gap between digital documents and their printouts. Using PADD, each printout can be considered as a proxy of the original digital documents. This aspect is exploited by PapierCraft a command selection system design specifically of paper based interactions. With PapierCraft users can copy information from a printout to their notes (either on paper or on a tablet PC), "stitch" paper document together, or create link between two documents. Upon pen synchronization the web of links created in the paper world is automatically recovered and can be processed automatically. By promoting cohabitation between digital documents and paper, this system lets users enjoy the benefits of both media. It is also a powerful tool to better understand the differences between paper and digital media. PapierCraft was done in collaboration with Ken Hinckley and Jim Hollan at UCSD, and will soon be integrated as part of the classroom presenter system in collaboration with Richard Anderson (University of Washington).

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