The Visual Computer

, Volume 28, Issue 6–8, pp 799–808 | Cite as

Tangible user interfaces for physically-based deformation: design principles and first prototype

  • Nawel TakouachetEmail author
  • Nadine Couture
  • Patrick Reuter
  • Pierre Joyot
  • Guillaume Rivière
  • Nicolas Verdon
Original Article


We present design principles for conceiving tangible user interfaces for the interactive physically-based deformation of 3D models. Based on these design principles, we developed a first prototype using a passive tangible user interface that embodies the 3D model. By associating an arbitrary reference material with the user interface, we convert the displacements of the user interface into forces required by physically-based deformation models. These forces are then applied to the 3D model made out of any material via a physical deformation model. In this way, we compensate for the absence of direct haptic feedback, which allows us to use a force-driven physically-based deformation model. A user study on simple deformations of various metal beams shows that our prototype is usable for deformation with the user interface embodying the virtual beam. Our first results validate our design principles, plus they have a high educational value for mechanical engineering lectures.


Tangible interface Two-handed interaction Physically-based deformation ShapeTape 



This work was supported by the ANR SeARCH project, Grant ANR-09-CORD-019 of the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche). The authors would like to thank Térence Brochu for his support in the user study analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nawel Takouachet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nadine Couture
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick Reuter
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Pierre Joyot
    • 1
  • Guillaume Rivière
    • 1
  • Nicolas Verdon
    • 1
  1. 1.ESTIABidartFrance
  2. 2.LaBRI, UMR 5800TalenceFrance
  3. 3.INRIA BordeauxTalenceFrance
  4. 4.Université Bordeaux SegalenBordeauxFrance

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