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PhD Computing: Levitating Displays for Multimodal Interaction

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Williamson
    Prof S Brewster
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We are now moving away from traditional human-computer interaction techniques like buttons, keyboards and mice towards touch (e.g., Smartphones and multi-touch gestures) and touchless interactions (as with the Kinect and Leap Motion controllers). The limiting factor in these new interactions is, ironically, the lack of physicality and direct feedback. Both touch and touchless interfaces lack a controller or interface element that provides meaningful physical feedback. Smooth glass touchscreens provide little affordance for direct physical feedback. Multimodal feedback such as visual or auditory cues can be disconnected from hands generating gesture and touch input.

This PhD studentship is part of the FET-OPEN funded Levitate Project. This PhD project will explore new methods for interacting with tangible displays. In particular, this project will make use of ultrasound beam-forming and manipulation techniques to create acoustic forces that levitate particles and to provide directional audio cues by making ultrasound audible through non-linear de-modulation in air. By levitating collections of particles using this hardware, we can create tangible displays that users can interact with through direct touch. These objects will be given the affordances of physical objects using tactile, visual, and audio feedback during user manipulations.

The PhD project will focus on developing new interaction techniques for these novel displays and completing evaluations of users’ interactions with levitating particles. This will include working with levitating particle display hardware to develop new input/output techniques and developing new applications for the display.

This project will require strong development skills and experience with interaction design.

Funding Notes

This three year PhD studentship is funded through the H2020 FET-Open project Levitate Project (

Funding is available to cover tuition fees for UK/EU applicants, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate (estimated £14,510 for Session 2016-17).

Related Subjects

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