Display technology developments mean the next generation of visual output devices will extend beyond the rigid, flat surfaces with which we are familiar to those that the user or machine can deform. These will allow users to physically push, pull, bend, fold or flex the display and facilitate a range of self-deformation to better represent on-screen content or support new modes of interaction.
Deformable displays cross the boundaries of Flexible and Kinetic Organic User Interfaces (OUI). User-based deformation has made progress from Gummi's bendable hardware concept and PaperWindows' projected flexible displays to Paperphone's functioning EInk and mobile media consumption experiences with the Kinetic Device. Machine-based deformation has advanced from top-projected actuatable displays, to low resolution shape change, to multi-axis tiltable displays. These advances underscore this field's maturation, suggesting future scenarios full of expressive, Organic User Experiences.
As a community, we do not yet fully appreciate the implications of interactions with deformable displays or understand how we will deliver real-world experiences with these devices to consumers. Designers face challenges understanding how deformable displays should be tailored for different contexts of use and how to incorporate 'shape' into interface design. This new organic design also requires the development of prototyping and implementation techniques, such as non-planar sensing materials, physical deformation mechanisms, and miniaturisation techniques. Finally, the community lacks understanding on how such interfaces should be empirically evaluated. To bring to fruition the promise of deformable OUIs, it is critical these themes are explored and defined via a cohesive research strategy.
The CHI2013 workshop on (Re-) Shaping Interactions with Deformable Displays aims to do exactly this by bringing together an elite, transdisciplinary group of academic and industrial researchers to define the current and future challenges of crafting organic user experiences.