iStuff: A Physical User Interface Toolkit for Ubiquitous Computing Environments

Rafael Ballagas, Meredith Ringel, Maureen Stone, Jan Borchers
CHI: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Workshop on What is the Next Generation of Human-Computer Interaction?, 2003
The iStuff toolkit of physical devices, and the flexible software infrastructure to support it, were designed to simplify the exploration of novel interaction techniques in the post-desktop era of multiple users, devices, systems and applications collaborating in an interactive environment. The toolkit leverages an existing interactive workspace infrastructure, making it lightweight and platform independent. The supporting software framework includes a dynamically configurable intermediary to simplify the mapping of devices to applications. We describe the iStuff architecture and provide several examples of iStuff, organized into a design space of ubiquitous computing interaction components. The main contribution is a physical toolkit for distributed, heterogeneous environments with run-time retargetable device data flow. We conclude with some insights and experiences derived from using this toolkit and framework to prototype experimental interaction techniques for ubiquitous computing environments.