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Bridging the physical and virtual worlds by local connectivity-based physical selection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-344
Number of pages12
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The prevalent visions of ambient intelligence emphasise natural interaction between user and functions and services embedded in the environment or available through mobile devices. In these scenarios the physical and virtual worlds seamlessly gear into each other, making crossing the border between these worlds natural or even invisible to the user. The bottleneck in reaching these scenarios appear in the natural mapping between the physical objects and their virtual counterparts. The emergence of local connectivity in mobile devices opens possibilities for implementing novel user interface paradigms to enhance this mapping. We present physical selection paradigm for implementing an intuitive human technology interaction for mobile devices. In order to demonstrate the feasibility of the paradigm we implemented two experimental set-ups using commercially available smart phones with IrDA connectivity. The experiments involved selecting a website by physically pointing at its symbol and making a phone call by pointing at an icon representing the person to be called. In tentative user experiments the physical selection method was more time-efficient and it was perceived more positively by the users than a conventional method.


  • physical browsing, ambient intelligence, mobile device, cellular phone, RFID, near field communication, user interface, HCI