Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share by email
Hands-On Computing

As new technologies are beginning to allow more direct interaction, just what ‘handedness’ might enable, and how it might be supported is far from clear. Simply allowing touch does not equate to making digital content tangible; making things tangible does not make them suited for all kinds of interaction. This theme is seeking to explore and develop what hands-on computing might mean, where new technologies and techniques that exploit the expressiveness of at 'handedness'

Collaborative Slate (C-Slate)

With C-Slate we are exploring how direct input horizontal surfaces can be used for remote collaboration. We have developed new stereo vision techniques for enabling touch input on a large pen-based tablet display, with the ability to recognise everyday physical objects placed on the surface. This enables users to interact with the display very naturally using stylus, hands and tangible objects. We are also developing virtual embodiments of users to enrich the remote collaboration.

Primary Contact: Shahram Izadi and Andrew Blake
People: Andrew Blake, Bill Buxton, Antonio Criminisi, Andrew Fitzgibbon, Dave Kirk, Shahram Izadi, Abigail Sellen, John Winn


  • Izadi, S., Agarwal, A., Criminisi, A., Winn, J., Blake, A., Fitzgibbon. A. 2007. C-Slate: A Multi-Touch and Object Recognition System for Remote Collaboration using Horizontal Surfaces. In IEEE Conference on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems (Rhode Island, USA, October 2007). Tabletop 2007.
  • Agarwal, A., Izadi, S., Chandraker, M., Blake. A. 2007, High Precision Multi-touch Sensing on Surfaces using Overhead Cameras. In IEEE Conference on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems (Rhode Island, USA, October 2007). Tabletop 2007.


Family Archive

The “family archive” is an interactive tabletop surface, expressly designed for the home, through which family members can capture, upload, view, organize and store their physical and digital family memorabilia. The system is being informed from studies of the home investigating current practices around home archiving, and also encompasses a number of new design methods.

Primary Contact: Abigail Sellen
People: Richard Banks, Alex Butler, Gilbert Cockton, David Kirk, Otmar Hilliges, Shahram Izadi, Abigail Sellen, Stuart Taylor


Flutter is a “living photo frame” – designed not to navigate or browse photo collections, but to create an enjoyable activity from a collection of images. Tangible interactions with a UMPC are used to bind the user closely to the system. Every interaction is logged and used to gradually evolve the structure of photo collections.

Primary Contact: Lorna Brown
People: Lorna Brown



We are exploring physics-enabled interaction techniques for multi-touch and object sensing tabletops, allowing more natural and fluid interactions with digital content.

Primary Contact: Otmar Hilliges
People: Otmar Hilliges and Shahram Izadi


SecondLight is a new rear projection-vision surface technology that augments the typical interactions afforded by multi-touch and tangible tabletops with the ability to project and sense both through and beyond the display. Watch the video

Primary contact: Shahram Izadi
People: Shahram Izadi, Steve Hodges, Stuart Taylor, Dan Rosenfeld, Nicholas Villar, Alex Butler and Jonathan Westhues



This project explores the use of audio and haptics for interpersonal communication via mobile devices. The Shake2Talk system allows users to construct audio-tactile messages through simple gesture interactions, and send these messages to other people. Such messages could be used to communicate a range of meanings, from the practical to the emotional.

Primary Contact: Lorna Brown
People: Lorna Brown, Richard Harper and Abigail Sellen



This project explores a new technique for optical sensing through thin form-factor displays. It allows for detection of fingers and other physical objects close to or on the display surface. This essentially allows us to turn a regular LCD into a sensing surface that can be used for multi-touch and tangible computing applications. We are interested in both the underlying hardware and software aspects of this approach as well as the interaction techniques and application scenarios it enables.

Primary Contact: Shahram Izadi and Steve Hodges
People: Alex Butler, Bill Buxton, Steve Hodges, Shahram Izadi, Mike Molloy, Alban Rrustemi, Stuart Taylor, Darren West


  • Izadi, S., Hodges, S., Butler, A., Rrustemi, A., and Buxton, B. 2007. ThinSight: integrated optical multi-touch sensing through thin form-factor displays. In Proceedings of the 2007 Workshop on Emerging Displays Technologies: Images and Beyond: the Future of Displays and interacton (San Diego, California, August 04 - 04, 2007). EDT '07, vol. 252. ACM Press, New York, NY, 6. DOI=
  • Hodges, S., Izadi, S., Butler, A., Rrustemi, A., and Buxton, B. 2007. ThinSight: versatile multi-touch sensing for thin form-factor displays. In Proceedings of the 20th Annual ACM Symposium on User interface Software and Technology (Newport, Rhode Island, USA, October 07 - 10, 2007). UIST '07. ACM Press, New York, NY, 259-268. DOI= (Best paper award)