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.




Full Paper Accepted at OzCHI 2014

We will present the following full paper at OzCHI 2014: EarPut: Augmenting Ear-worn Devices for Ear-based Interaction(Roman Lissermann, Jochen Huber, Aristotelis Hadjakos, Suranga Nanayakkara and Max Mühlhäuser) [more]

Category: Allgemeine News


Journal Article Accepted

Our journal article was accepted for the Informatik Spektrum Special Issue: Interaction Beyond the Desktop at Springer and is now available via SpringerLink. Title: Immersiver Tabletop: der digitale Tisch als Tisch Authors: M.... [more]

Category: Allgemeine News


Invited Talk by Antti Oulasvirta

Title Computational User Interface Design When & Where31.03.2014 16:00 - 17:00 in S202 / C110 Abstract Search spaces in user interface design often grow too large to be explored manually. Let us consider the case of... [more]

Category: Allgemeine News


Accepted work at CHI 2014

We will present the following work at CHI 2014 in Toronto: Permulin: Mixed-Focus Collaboration on Multi-View Tabletops (full paper)(R. Lissermann, J. Huber, M. Schmitz, J. Steimle, M. Mühlhäuser)  Exploiting Thermal... [more]

Category: Allgemeine News


Cisco's the network featuring EarOut

Cisco's technology news site "the network" featured EarPut in an article about body-based interfaces. [more]


ITS'13 Contributions

We will present two full papers (ObjecTop and coMAP) and one poster (PeriTop) this year at the ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces 2013 Conference ITS'2013 in St. Andrews: ObjecTop: Occlusion... [more]


NNgroup featuring EarPut

NNgroup featured our EarPut project in an article on body-based interaction (link) [more]

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