Interactive Paper Interface

Whether it is the to-do list stuck to the monitor, contact information jotted down during a telephone call, or a short message attached to a pile of documents passed over to a co-worker, paper is often the means of choice. Post-it notes in particular are the most popular paper medium for informal note taking, as they provide unique affordances such as context- and location-sensitive placement. Information to be kept in mind, e.g., appointment dates, contact information, or to-do lists are often written on them, and stuck in prominent places as reminders. While the popular Post-it notes provide excellent affordances for passive reminding due to their physical presence, they do not provide direct support when active reminding is required. Digital tools on the other hand, can proactively remind us about important information, e.g., by showing a pop-up window or playing an alert sound. Unfortunately, these computer-mediated notification mechanisms are prominent sources for human interruption and cause breaks in the workflow by forcing users to redirect the focus of their attention from a continuous primary activity.

Move-it exploits the strength of both paper and digital interfaces and extends it with active feedback functionality. By providing subtle motion cues in the periphery of a user’s field of vision, we can support awareness about important information without disrupting a user in his current primary activity. The Move-it active paper interface combines enhanced Post-it notes (Move-it sticky notes) supporting identification and processing of handwritten notes with an intelligent paperclip (Move-it ioClip) supporting recognition and movement of Move-it sticky notes attached to it. The Move-it desktop application combines these two components and enables the Move-it system to provide active feedback to the user.

First, handwritten notes are captured on traditional paper using a digital Anoto pen. The strokes are transmitted to the Move-it desktop application, processed using handwriting recognition, and then interpreted and synchronized with personal information management (PIM) tools. Next, the Move-it sticky note is ready to be combined with an intelligent Move-it ioClip, which identifies each sticky note uniquely by processing a graycode on the backside of the note. Once identified, the Move-it desktop application is able to establish a distinct association between the digital notes and the physical paper note. Finally, upon occurrence of a specified event (e.g., at a particular point in time, upon request) the Move-it ioClip gives active motion feedback by actuating the shape memory alloy attached to the paperclip.

To demonstrate the versatility of the Move-it system, we have designed and implemented two demo applications with specialized types of Move-it sticky notes:

  • Mind-it Sticky Notes for Active Reminding: Reminding people of upcoming appointments is one of the typical application scenarios for Mind-it sticky notes. Thus, Mind-it notes are used as alerting displays, which remain in the periphery at most times but grab a user’s attention as soon as important information arrives. For example, a Mind-it sticky note supposed to remind the user of a scheduled meeting five minutes before the specified date serves as a passive reminder due to its mere presence. As soon as the specified reminder time is reached, the Mind-it will be actuated by the interactive paperclip and thus become an active reminder grabbing a user’s attention.
  • Watch-it Sticky Notes for Status Monitoring: Supporting awareness of the presence of remote people is one of the typical application scenarios for Watch-it sticky notes. Thus, Watch-it notes are used as ambient displays remaining on the periphery of a user’s attention and showing information of low to medium importance. For example, a Watch-it sticky note supposed to provide a user with awareness of the status of particular instant messenger (IM) contacts serves as a subtle means of monitoring this changing, non-critical data while performing a continuous primary task. As soon as the online status of a contact changes, the Watch-it note will change its shape accordingly without forcing the user to switch the focus of attention.