Desney Tan- The Quest for Always-Available Mobile Interaction

Miniaturizing our computers so we can carry them in our pockets has drastically changed the way we use technology. However, mobile computing is often peripheral to the act of operating in the real world, and the form factor of today’s mobile devices limits their seamless integration into real-world tasks. Interacting with a mobile phone, for example, demands visual, manual, and cognitive focus. I will describe our goal of creating always-available interaction, which allows us to transition between mobile computing and real-world tasks as efficiently as we can shift our visual attention between different visual targets. More specifically, I’ll discuss some of our projects exploring new input techniques that utilize e.g. muscle sensing, bio-acoustic sensing, leveraging the body as an electromagnetic antenna, etc. We assert that success in this space could have the same magnitude of impact that mobile computing had on enabling tasks that were not possible with traditional desktop computers.