Original Article

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 255-264

First online:

Supporting device discovery and spontaneous interaction with spatial references

  • Hans GellersenAffiliated withComputing Department, Lancaster University Email author 
  • , Carl FischerAffiliated withComputing Department, Lancaster University
  • , Dominique GuinardAffiliated withETH Zurich/SAP Research
  • , Roswitha GostnerAffiliated withComputing Department, Lancaster University
  • , Gerd KortuemAffiliated withComputing Department, Lancaster University
  • , Christian KrayAffiliated withInformatics Research Institute, University of Newcastle
  • , Enrico RukzioAffiliated withComputing Department, Lancaster University
  • , Sara StrengAffiliated withLudwig-Maximilians-Universität

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The RELATE interaction model is designed to support spontaneous interaction of mobile users with devices and services in their environment. The model is based on spatial references that capture the spatial relationship of a user’s device with other co-located devices. Spatial references are obtained by relative position sensing and integrated in the mobile user interface to spatially visualize the arrangement of discovered devices, and to provide direct access for interaction across devices. In this paper we discuss two prototype systems demonstrating the utility of the model in collaborative and mobile settings, and present a study on usability of spatial list and map representations for device selection.


Spontaneous interaction Spatial user interface Relative positioning