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Published 2003 | Accepted Version
Report Open

Tangible + Virtual = A Flexible 3D Interface for Spatial Construction Applied to DNA


Ideas from tangible interfaces and VR ease a difficult spatial design task: construct a DNA molecule with desired characteristics. Our hybrid interface has both the physical intimacy of tangible media and the versatility of 3D digital display. Two new physical affordances: a raygun and a grip tool, enable kinesthetic control of the addition and removal of structure. We introduce 3D local menus which select multiple functions for each tool. New interactions for sensed tongs enable the sophisticated multi-object arrangement that the delicate, intricate DNA construction task demands. These flexible tools allow UI designers to create multiple interfaces upon the same physical substrate. In a user study, practicing research scientists expressed a strong preference for Silkworm, our 3D interface, when compared to mouse/monitor UI. We show that 3D tangible interfaces, heretofore only applied to freeform artistic creation, also facilitate intuition in the highly structured task that is our focus.

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Accepted Version - cit-asci-tr156.pdf


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August 22, 2023
January 15, 2024