Project Details

Project Date : 2011-2012
Role: Tangible interaction design, Haptic interaction research

Project Collaborators
Synlnab: Paul Clifton, Jean Chu, Derek Young, Yuanyuan Lin
Advisor: Ali Mazalek (Synlab)

etv Lab: Hank Blumenthal, Abhishek Nandakumar, Balasubramanium Ganapathi
Advisor:Janet Murray (ETV Lab)

Funding and support-Intel Interaction and Experience Research Group: Tawny Schlieski

Demo: 2012 GVU DEMO Day, 2015 TEI
Publication: TEI 2015

Tools : Arduino, Bluetooth, HTML5 Video, Unity Web

Universal Threshold Object (UTO)

The ‘Universal Threshold Object’ is a tangible device for television-like interactive narratives based on the TV show American Horror Story. The project uses gestural interactions with a tangible controller that provides haptic feedback as an interaction strategy to augment the narrative pleasures of immersion and dramatic agency. We leverage a branching scenario and story-driven gestural interaction with haptic feedback to provide limited sets of interactivity suitable for a television platform. From our research, design goals, and design process, we provide design implications for interactive narratives that employ gestural and haptic interactions.

How can a device for interactive television be more engaging and immersive? The advancement of game consoles and devices have enabled immersive gaming, yet watching television remains relatively passive. We brainstormed and created a prototype for an interactive device that lets interactors engage as a main actor in the television content.


Jean Ho Chu, Paul Clifton, Hank Blumenthal, Abhishek Nandakumar, Balasubramanium Ganapathi, Janet Murray, and Ali Mazalek. 2015. Universal Threshold Object: Designing Haptic Interaction for Televised Interactive Narratives. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 285-292.