Bristol Interaction Group


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Floating Charts

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Free Form Display

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Bristol Interaction and Graphics is united by a common interest in creative interdisciplinarity. We act as a hub for collaboration between social scientists, artists, scientists and engineers to combine efficient and aesthetic design. We are particularly interested in areas which couple the design of devices with deployment and evaluation in public settings. Members of the group have expertise in research areas spanning human-computer interaction, visual and tactile perception, imaging, visualisation and computer-supported collaboration.

Recent News

10 papers and 8 late breaking work accepted to CHI 2016

Bristol Interaction Group will present 10 papers and 8 late breaking work at ACM CHI 2016.

The following are our 10 papers and notes

Investigating Text Legibility on Non-Rectangular Displays

medalUnderstanding and Mitigating the Effects of Device and Cloud Service Design Decisions on the Environmental Footprint of Digital Infrastructure

Tap the ShapeTones: Exploring the effects of crossmodal congruence in an audio-visual interface

EMPress: Practical Hand Gesture Classification with Wrist-Mounted EMG and Pressure Sensing

Office Social: Presentation Interactivity for Nearby Devices

GauntLev: A Wearable to Manipulate Free-floating Objects

Shared Language and the Design of Home Healthcare Technology

PathSync: Multi-User Gestural Interaction with Touchless Rhythmic Path Mimicry

PowerShake: Power Transfer Interactions for Mobile Devices The

Tyranny of the Everyday in Mobile Video Messaging

Running out of smartphone battery could be a thing of the past, thanks to power sharing between devices.


We are pleased to announce The Economist has published an article on a paper by BIG researchers Paul Worgan, Jarrod Knibbe, Diego Martinez Plasencia and Mike Fraser.

The paper presents a power sharing concept called PowerShake. PowerShake enables users to share power across their multiple mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, using inductive power transfer. Today we are beginning to carry multiple mobile devices, though the energy is used at different rates across each of the devices, meaning one device could have near full battery and another almost no battery. PowerShake allows users to transfer energy, for example, from their tablet to their phone to support an important phone call. PowerShake also allows users to share or trade power with others, including friends, family and colleagues, on-the-go and all without charging cables.

Watch the PowerShake video for more information.


Floating Charts presented at 3DUI


BIG researcher Themis Omirou presented the paper ‘Floating Charts’ at the 3DUI conference in Greenville South Carolina. The conference was part of the IEEE Virtual Reality conference 2016 which hosted an array of interesting demos involving a variety of VR headsets and augmented reality headwear.

Subtle Interfaces Panel at SXSW

Bristol Interaction Group researcher Peter Bennett attended SXSW last week to present a panel on “Subtle Interfaces: Designing for Calm Tech” along with Verity MacintoshChloe Meineck and Tom Metcalfe. Audio recording of the panel below, with a video to follow soon.


Sonic tractor beam goes to Hollywood


Bristol Interaction Group member Asier Marzo demonstrated the world’s first sonic tractor beam to Hollywood actors Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell on the Spanish TV programme El Hormiguero.

6 Papers accepted to CHI 2016


Bristol Interaction group will present six papers at ACM CHI 2016.

Flexible On-Body Coils presented at IEEE


Themis Omirou  and Paul Worgan are presenting ‘Flexible On-Body Coils for Inductive Power Transfer to IoT Garments and Wearables’ at the IEEE World Forum on the Internet of Things in Milan.

Their paper demonstrates that on body inductive power transfer designers have the flexibility to customise their coils into aesthetic shapes, with performance in accordance with Faraday’s Law of Induction.

1st place as the Peoples’ Choice in the Art of Science Competition

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BIG member Asier Marzo won the 1st place as the Peoples’ Choice in the Art of Science Competition.

The Mandelbrot set contains the points (C) that satisfy the purely mathematical condition of not escaping to infinity when iterated as (Zn+1 = Zn^2 + C).

In the picture, we present a modification of the set in which the orbits of each escaping point are drawn (Buddhabrot). Different colours are assigned depending on the amount of the iterations applied before existing a stable orbit.

Engineers and physicist use mathematics as the language to describe reality yet its foundations (ZFC core) are thought to be independent of our existence.

“God used beautiful mathematics in creating the world.” Paul Dirac


Congratulations to Tom Carter from Ultrahaptics – for winning the rising star new engineer of the year 2015 Elektra Awards.

Acoustic Holograms that Levitate Particles


Researcher Asier Marzo, affiliated to BIG, is the main author in the recent paper published in Nature Communications “Holographic Acoustic Elements for Manipulation of Levitated Particles”. The research is a collaboration between Bristol University (BIG and uNDT groups), Sussex University (Interact Lab), Ultrahaptics and the Public University of Navarre (TAIPECO group).

In the paper, a method to create acoustic holograms with a phased-array of ultrasonic transducers is presented. These holograms are tridimensional acoustic fields that can be emitted even from a flat surface. Unless the conventional light-holograms, the acoustic holograms cannot be seen but they exert considerable forces on physical objects and can pass through water and human tissue. This enables the creation of tractor beams, tangible displays of levitated pixels or the manipulation of particles inside the human body.

Three holograms were found to be optimum for levitation. The first is an acoustic field that resembles a pair of fingers that pinch the particle. The second is an acoustic tornado that drags the objects to its eye. And the third could be described as a high-intensity cage that surrounds the objects from all directions.

An ultrasonic phased-array is composed of several loudspeakers denominated transducers. Each transducer plays a sinusoidal wave of the same frequency and amplitude but with slightly different offsets (phase-delays). The waves are emitted from a two-dimensional surface yet their interference patterns creates a tri-dimensional shape above.

A canon is a musical composition in which the same melody is played by several instruments but starting at different times. The composition is carefully engineered to create beautiful harmonies at every instant that result from the combination of the same melody played at different points. Similarly, our computer algorithm calculates the phase-delays for each transducer so that the listener, the particle in our case, gets surrounded by the desired acoustic levels.

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The authors of the paper are Asier Marzo, Sue Ann Seah, Bruce W. Drinkwater, Deepak Ranjan Sahoo, Benjamin Long and Sriram Subramanian.