Haptic Techniques for Media Control

Scott Sona Snibbe

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 12, 2001

This talk will describe a set of techniques for haptically manipulating digital media such as video, audio, voicemail and computer graphics, utilizing virtual mediating dynamic models based on intuitive physical metaphors. These techniques were developed over several years at Interval Research's Haptics Laboratory.

Most of these systems were implemented on a collection of single axis actuated displays (knobs and sliders), equipped with orthogonal force sensing to enhance their expressive potential. By focusing on continuous interaction through an actuated device rather than discrete button and key presses, we believe we have created a simple yet powerful set of tools that leverage physical intuition and reduce the complexity of interacting with media.

Scott Snibbe explores direct physical perception and expression in electronic media. His experiments probe the boundary between the body and its effects on the world through human interactions and the invisible traces of corporeal expression. His works include interactive software and installations, animated films, and commercial and research software.

Snibbe has worked at the Brown University Computer Graphics Group as a researcher, at the Rhode Island School of Design as an animation instructor, at Adobe Systems as a computer scientist on the After Effects team. As a researcher at Interval Research in Palo Alto, California, his work focused on haptics (the field of engaging touch through digital computers), digital video and interactive graphics. Snibbe was most recently the founder of Sonamo Collaborative Media - a company that created online tools for mass collaboration on media projects.

Snibbe's commercial work has informed his personal artwork and films. Among his interactive projects are the Motion Phone, a networked experiment in abstract visual communication; and Boundary Functions, a body-centric visualization of personal space. His animated films focus on nonverbal storytelling through movement and subtle significances. Both his interactive work and animated films have been featured internationally at such venues as The Tokyo InterCommunications Center, SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica; the Stuttgart, Hiroshima and Ottawa Animation Festivals, and the San Francisco and Seattle film festivals.

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