(Dis)Appearables: A Concept and Method for Actuated Tangible UIs to Appear and Disappear based on Stages

Ken Nakagaki

March 22, 2022


Ken Nakagaki, Jordan L Tappa, Yi Zheng, Jack Forman, Joanne Leong, Sven Koenig, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2022. (Dis)Appearables: A Concept and Method for Actuated Tangible UIs to Appear and Disappear based on Stages. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’22), April 29-May 5, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 13 pages.


(Dis)Appearables is an approach for actuated Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) to appear and disappear. This technique is supported by Stages: physical platforms inspired by theatrical stages. Self-propelled TUI's autonomously move between front and back stage allowing them to dynamically appear and disappear from users' attention. This platform opens up a novel interaction design space for expressive displays with dynamic physical affordances.

We demonstrate and explore this approach based on a proof-of-concept implementation using two-wheeled robots, and multiple stage design examples. We have implemented a stage design pipeline which allows users to plan and design stages that are composed with front and back stages, and transition portals such as trap doors or lifts. The pipeline includes control of the robots, which guides them on and off stage. With this proof-of-concept prototype, we demonstrated a range of applications including interactive mobility simulation, self re-configuring desktops, remote hockey, and storytelling/gaming. Inspired by theatrical stage designs, this is a new take on `controlling the existence of matter' for user experience design.

Related Content