Learning from Mixed-Reality Games: Is Shaking a Tablet as Effective as Physical Observation?

Researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University have published a study on the power of educational games with a “tangible” side.

Using the Microsoft’s Kinect  to enhance an educational game about elementary physics, they have found that the introduction of physical objects “along with Kinect improved the effectiveness of learning by nearly five times compared to an equivalent screen-only experience”.

Continue reading…

[Paper] NailO: Fingernails as an Input Surface

Nailo is a wireless nail-mounted gestural input interface designed in the MIT Media Lab. Sort of decorative nail stickers inspired trackpad on top of a thumbnail, it allows to control other digital devices.

According to the abstract:

We present NailO, a nail-mounted gestural input surface. Using capacitive sensing on printed electrodes, the interface can distinguish on-nail finger swipe gestures with high accuracy (>92%). NailO works in real-time: we miniaturized the system to fit on the fingernail, while wirelessly transmitting the sensor data to a mobile phone or PC. NailO allows one-handed and always-available input, while being unobtrusive and discrete. Inspired by commercial nail stickers, the device blends into the user’s body, is customizable, fashionable and even removable. We show example applications of using the device as a remote controller when hands are busy and using the system to increase the input space of mobile phones.

The project will be presented at CHI 2015 (South Korea).

You can read more on MIT News.

[Paper] Cruise Control for Pedestrians: Controlling Walking Direction using Electrical Muscle Stimulation

In this study, a group of researchers presents the result of an experiment conceived to control walk direction using electrical muscle stimulation. From the abstract:

Pedestrian navigation systems require users to perceive, interpret, and react to navigation information. This can tax cognition as navigation information competes with information from the real world. We propose actuated navigation, a new kind of pedestrian navigation in which the user does not need to attend to the navigation task at all. An actuation signal is directly sent to the human motor system to influence walking direction. To achieve this goal we stimulate the sartorius muscle using electrical muscle stimulation. The rotation occurs during the swing phase of the leg and can easily be counteracted. The user therefore stays in control. We discuss the properties of actuated navigation and present a lab study on identifying basic parameters of the technique as well as an outdoor study in a park. The results show that our approach changes a user’s walking direction by about 16°/m on average and that the system can successfully steer users in a park with crowded areas, distractions, obstacles, and uneven ground.

The research will be presented at CHI 2015 in South Korea.

Read the full paper.

Found on MiT Technology Review.