TANGIBLE INTERFACE RESEARCH



Flick Pixels

Ultra-thin flexible actuators that can be applied to sheet materials - fabrics, paper, metals, or plastics - to create lightweight screens and active wallpaper - for displaying data, social media messages and animated patterns.





The aim of this project was to develop 'wallpaper for the Internet of Things'. Initially it seemed unlikely that there could be a simple and reliable solution to the problem, but a gradual process of evolution created a surprisingly elegant and effective device (patent pending). Besides opening up new creative possibilities for crafts, aesthetics, and customisation, the resulting technology is interesting in two engineering respects - it does not use conventional discrete electromagnets to move the pixels, and it achieves complex pixel movements without a complex control system.

This invention has recently been covered by the journal of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and various technology websites.

The actuators can be manufactured cheaply (they could even be printed), so the overall cost of a display should be less than $0.10 per pixel - i.e. competitive with other large display technologies such as LEDs.

If you are interested in this project, or in commercial applications of the technology, please use the contact details below.












Multi-touch surface technologies
Tracking multiple objects and human touches for musical applications (image below), interactive flooring, and high-speed velocity-sensitive touchscreens








Modular interactive systems
User-reconfigurable structures of small interconnecting touch-tracking computer building blocks








Fentix Cube
Orientation-aware cubic touchscreen computer








Kinetic Surfaces
Moving passive objects at high speed using computer-controlled magnetic fields.









Some years before the release of the iPhone and the iPad, Andrew invented a number of multitouch interface technologies. He was therefore asked by Samsung to act as an expert in the recent high-profile international patent dispute between Apple and Samsung. Samsung went on to successfully defend itself against Apple's illegitimate patent claims in this area.

Interviews with Andrew about his work are available on: BBC News , The Register , and Gizmodo - "...developing multi-touch human interfaces, kinetic surfaces and motion sensing technologies before almost anyone else on the planet...The Fentix Cube is just the tip of the iceberg of his stunning work."
Some of these projects can be seen on Youtube.


BIOGRAPHY:

Building music synthesisers as a teenager, followed by short periods of art school and running a hair salon / DIY clothes boutique, led to interests in technological innovation and aesthetics. After a degree in electronics, Andrew worked in advanced military systems R&D, and later switched to applied psychology and computer science research at University College London. He went on to work in innovation management research at London Business School and the University of Cambridge.

During computer science PhD research, Andrew developed a 'Spatial Hypertext Object Management System' - aka SpaceMan. This system started off as a software platform for building and sharing mood boards - a bit like Pinterest® - but grew to feature flexible spatial arrangements of objects, nested pages, and algorithms for integrating 'big data' analyses and visualisations. SpaceMan attracted interest and investment from Unilever and BMW, and was spun out into a management consultancy.

Since returning to computer hardware research full-time, Andrew has primarily worked on developing new interactive surface and tangible interface technologies. He has also pursued technical projects with aesthetic or artistic dimensions; Kinetica Museum has exhibited some of this work, and he collaborated on a couture fashion show with the late Alexander McQueen.


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