Hybrid Interactive Surfaces

Interactive tabletop displays are increasingly wide-spread. They provide very natural ways of interacting with digital media. Information is displayed on a horizontal display and people can use touch input to interact with this information, very much the way we interact with physical objects in the real world.

We explore a hybrid setting in which both types of media are used in combination on the same surface. An example scenario of hybrid use is a desk of the future. On this desk, we concurrently work with books, printed articles, and sticky notes as well as with digital media, such as e-mails or web pages displayed on the desk surface.  Moreover, the surface might be covered by non-media physical objects such as a keyboard, cups, pens, etc. While a traditional screen might be better suited for intense reading activity or for writing documents, documents on a tabletop screen favor collaborative practices and structuring by physical arrangements.

In this project, we examine the affordances of this hybrid setting with in-depth user studies. One main challenge of hybrid use is physical occlusion of screen contents. Our first results show in which situations occlusion is problematic. However, we also found that users intentionally create occlusion in order to express semantic information in spatial arrangements. Hybrid piles of printed and digital documents are a frequent arrangement.

Based on these findings, we currently design novel interaction techniques for hybrid tabletops. In particular, we provide support for the efficient selection of occluded items as well as for hybrid grouping and sorting activities. Our fields of application are knowledge work, learning, and interaction in command-and-control-centers.


Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi, Patrik Schmittat, Max Mühlhäuser, Jürgen Steimle: Occlusion-aware Interaction Techniques for Tabletop Systems.  In: CHI 2012 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (to appear), ACM Press, 2012. 

Jürgen Steimle, Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi, Max Mühlhäuser, James D. Hollan:  Physical and Digital Media Usage Patterns on Interactive Tabletop Surfaces. In: ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (to appear) 2010. 

Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi, Jürgen Steimle, Max Mühlhäuser: Interaction Techniques for Hybrid Piles of Documents on Interactive Tabletops. In: CHI 2010 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (to appear), ACM Press, New York, NY, 2010. 

 Jürgen Steimle, Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi, Max Mühlhäuser: Hybrid Groups of Printed and Digital Documents on Tabletops: A Study. In: CHI 2010 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (to appear), ACM Press, New York, NY, 2010. 

Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi, Jürgen Steimle, Max Mühlhäuser: Interaction Support for Hybrid Groups of Paper and Digital Documents on Tabletops. In: ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (Adjunct CD), ACM Press, New York, NY, 2009.


Dr. Jürgen Steimle

Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi

Prof. Dr. Max Mühlhäuser


If you are interested in our work, don't hesitate to contact us.




Two Full Papers Accepted at CHI 2018

We will present two full papers at CHI 2018: Off-Line Sensing: Memorizing Interactions in Passive 3D-Printed ObjectsMartin Schmitz, Martin Herbers, Niloofar Dezfuli, Sebastian Günther, Max... [more]

Category: Startseite, Allgemeine News


Full Paper Accepted at CHI 2017

We will present a full paper at CHI 2017: Flexibles: Deformation-Aware 3D-Printed Tangibles for Capacitive Touchscreens(Martin Schmitz, Jürgen Steimle, Jochen Huber, Niloofar Dezfuli & Max Mühlhäuser)  [more]

Category: Allgemeine News, Startseite


Hessian Minister for Science tested new version of TK's Smart Table, Permulin

During a recent event at the Future Innovation Lab of TU Darmstadt's spin-off company Leap-In-Time by Prof. Ruth Stock-Homburg, the Hessian Minister for Science and Arts, Boris Rhein, was one of the first to have a closer look on... [more]

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TK’s Smart Table featured in Commerzbank video about the future of work

Commerzbank, Germany’s second largest bank, produced a vision film about the future of work and workplaces. It features three areas of TU Darmstadt‘s spin-off company Leap-in-Time headed by Prof. Ruth Stock-Homburg from the... [more]

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Three Posters Accepted at CHI 2016

TK is going to present three Late-Breaking-Work posters at this year's CHI conference in San Jose. The accepted posters are: FreeTop: Finding Free Spots for Projective AugmentationJan Riemann, Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi, Martin... [more]

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Paper Accepted at UIST 2015

We will present the following paper at UIST 2015: Capricate: A Fabrication Pipeline to Design and 3D Print Capacitive Touch Sensors for Interactive Objects(Martin Schmitz, Mohammadreza Khalilbeigi, Matthias Balwierz, Roman... [more]

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TK Receives Surface Hub Award from Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research recently developed a number of prototypes of a novel electronic whiteboard. A worldwide competition was launched where pertinent research groups could propose innovative research projects that would leverage... [more]

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