What does a floating USB drive mean?
This thesis looks at an alternative way to visualise information in augmented reality: By manipulating an object's physical characteristics, and using our learned understanding of these physical characteristics to create new meaning.
On computer screens, much of the information we see are represented in symbols and icons.
Many visions of augmented reality would suggest we draw from 2d screen UI language to create interfaces for augmented reality.
But shouldn't the language of visualisation change when designing for 2d versus the real world? Does augmented reality have to look like a bunch of floating screens?
Indexical visualisation provides an alternative to the 2d UI vision of augmented reality.
Indexical visualizations are qualitative, and rely on our understanding of cause and effect to communicate information. For example the movement of tree leaves tells us how strong the wind is. Lights at night tell us about population distribution and where the borders of cities are.
Another indexical visualisation is the way the pouch below sinks into the surface it sits on. The deformation of the surface tells us the pouch is heavy, probably filled with something.
What if we borrowed the understanding that "a sinking object is heavy/full" and applied it to USB drives?
Could we make a USB drive look like it is full, by creating the illusion it is sinking into the surface it sits on?
Experiential augmentation is the borrowing of meaning from our understanding of indexical visualisations, and applying them to new objects, to visualise new information/states of that object.
For more information on experiments run, results and design recommendations please download the paper.
Following are other example tests from the research: