Researchers develop prototype of 3-D display screen that physically tilts (w/ Video)

September 20, 2012, University of Bristol
3-D display screen on mobile devices could be on the horizon (w/ Video)

Imagine a mobile device that visually displays a street map and whose screen physically mutates to show the hilly terrain and buildings. A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, have developed a new type of screen display that not only moves but also physically tilts.

Researchers from the University's Department of Computer Science will present the display, called Tilt Displays, at MobileHCI 2012, the world's leading conference in the field of (HCI), held in San Francisco, USA.

Tilt Displays is a display surface about half the size of a standard tablet, such as an . It consists of a collection of individual display components each of which can tilt along one or more axes and move vertically up and down. This ability to tilt along multiple axes distinguishes it from previous actuatable displays.

A video of Tilt Displays

The researchers, through a mobile 3x3 custom built prototype, examined the design space around Tilt Displays, to understand users' initial impressions and looked at how users may interact with these surfaces. They were also interested in the use of a mobile display, because of the range of opportunities for its use it offers.

Sriram Subramanian, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science's Interaction and Graphics group and co-chair of the MobileHCI 2012 conference, said: "The ability to tilt along multiple distinguishes our display from previous actuatable displays. Such screen opens a range of opportunities for providing an additional integrated information channel to the user.

"These opportunities include collaboration, terrain modeling, 3D video that is beyond auto-stereoscopic 3D and tangible gaming. We can imagine many scenarios that would benefit from the physicality offered by Tilt Displays. However, we need to establish whether users can relate to the and advantages of using such a device."

The research found participants were very positive about the Tilt Display concept. Their first impression was to associate Tilt Displays to a new method of presenting and consuming 3D content and they linked the Tilt Display to other forms of 3D displays, such as those used in cinema.

The second user study examined two interaction possibilities, one for manipulating the surface of the Tilt Display and the second for conducting everyday interactions.

A set of six gestures were employed to control all facets of tilt and actuation. The second set, for the low-level interactions of panning, scaling, rotating and selection, found that users preferred on-screen gestures for planar surfaces, but mid-air versions of the same gestures for non-planar configurations. This demonstrates users' ability to 'scale up' their knowledge of gestures to the domain of Tilt Displays.

Explore further: Fold-it computer action set for Canada conference (w/ video)

More information: For more information on MobileHCI conference visit:

Paper: Tilt Displays: Designing Display Surfaces with Multi-axis Tilting and Actuation by Jason Alexander, Lancaster University; Andrés Lucero, Nokia Research Center Tampere, Finland and Sriram Subramanian, University of Bristol, MobileHCI'12, September 21, 2012, San Francisco, CA, USA.

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5 / 5 (1) Sep 20, 2012
While technically nifty I'm underwhelmed by this.

For a lot of stuff on physorg I can at least envision uses, but this (even if we think of ultraminiaturization down to a one-pixel tilt-display) does not seem useful for anything much.
Certainly the 'use cases' they demonstrated aren't of any use I can see.

Anyone have an idea what to use this for?
1 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2012
It's some form of dynamic decoupage. I can't see any useful applications either, nor do I see how it could possibly enhance the contemporary 3d video experience.
not rated yet Sep 20, 2012

Anyone have an idea what to use this for?

A larger version of this would be absolutely essential for any evil, world-dominating Artificial Intelligence. So maybe, if a man-portable actuated compound screen was developed, our electric overlords could don some fancy robot pants and dance on our graves in victory!
1 / 5 (1) Sep 20, 2012
i don't like the concept, it would be better if there were no gaps, how they would accomplish that is a different matter all i can say is i wouldn't buy one of these, the other thing is it seems like they're getting desperate with pseudo-3D displays i have never liked all this 3D, things look 3D enough to me on regular displays and 3D cinema screens mess with my eyes
not rated yet Sep 21, 2012
With an eye tracker it could ensure a monitor adjusted itself so a viewer always saw what it displayed with the best view. It also ensure that what was displayed on the monitor was only viewable by a particular person. But these things could be achieved better in other ways.
4 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
i don't like the concept, it would be better if there were no gaps,

Well, a bendable display with individual actuators underneath would do the trick.
This might be sorta useful for looking at maps. But then again: with glassless 3D already on the market there's not much point to that, either.
not rated yet Sep 21, 2012
Well, a bendable display with individual actuators underneath would do the trick.
given the way these screens can angle away from each other it would need to be strechable
1 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2012
should be a fun project to use a strechable surface with actuators beneath in a table-like configuration (1x2m)
A beamer would display a map on top of it.
Elevation lines captured by cam would give the input to the actuators. ... But yeah nothing really practical
1 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2012
It would look a lot better if it were one flexible bending display.
1 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2012
A big (maybe 4'x 4') sheet of them with mirrors instead of screens would make a nice solar cooker with the spot being automatically adjusted for sun travel but I agree with you folks. This is pretty much useless for anything practical. Maybe part of an animated projection system? A big version of the tiny ic chips that do this?
1 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2012
Just another example of, "just because it's doable - we should do it." Waste of resources.
not rated yet Sep 25, 2012
That's not going to be touch screen then!

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