TANGIBLE INTERFACE RESEARCH



NEW: Flick Pixel digital displays
Wallpaper for the Internet of Things


Flick Pixels are revolutionary ultra-thin actuators that can be applied to almost any material - textiles, paper, metals, plastics - to create ultra-lightweight screens and active wallpaper - displaying data, social media messages and animated patterns. (2015)





The aim of the Flick Pixels project was to develop 'wallpaper for the Internet of Things'. A process of combining and evolving micro-robotics, control algorithms, advanced manufacturing techniques and material crafts led to the invention of these flexible ultra-thin pixel actuators.

Besides opening up new aesthetic possibilities, this technology is radical in two engineering respects - it does not use conventional electromagnets to move the pixels, and it achieves complex pixel movements without a complex control system. In other words - it shouldn't work, but careful co-evolution of the hardware components and the control software has created a surprisingly elegant and effective design (patent pending).

These actuators can be manufactured cheaply (they could even be printed), so the overall cost of a Flick Pixel 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, the technology, or commercial applications, please use the contact details below.













TilePad display screen
3D interactive display consisting of small semi-translucent tiles whose movements are electronically tracked - each of these 3D graphical objects can therefore maintain a consistent virtual identity, function and colour when they are moved across the surface of the display. (2010)
To see this in action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJyJHek2laQ








Modular interactive systems
User-reconfigurable structures of small interconnecting touch-tracking computer building blocks (2009-2010)








Fentix Cube
Orientation-aware cubic touchscreen computer (2007)








Kinetic Surfaces
Moving passive objects at high speed using computer-controlled magnetic fields. (2000-2006)
To see this in action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_bMwL8O4c0








Multi-touch surface technologies
Tracking multiple objects and human touches for musical applications (see image below), interactive flooring, and high-speed velocity-sensitive touchscreens (2001-2004)









Andrew has pioneered a number of new concepts in computer hardware. Videos documenting the projects pictured above can be viewed on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/AndrewFentem

Articles about Andrew's research are available at the follow locations: 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."

As the inventor of several multitouch interface technologies, Andrew was asked to act as an expert in the recent high-profile international patent dispute between Apple and Samsung.


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 pioneered 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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