Ali Mazalek

Ali Mazalek
Ryerson University · RTA School of Media

About

125
Publications
17,736
Reads
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1,458
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2005 - present
Georgia Institute of Technology
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (125)
Book
This book investigates multiple facets of the emerging discipline of Tangible, Embodied, and Embedded Interaction (TEI). This is a story of atoms and bits. We explore the interweaving of the physical and digital, toward understanding some of their wildly varying hybrid forms and behaviors. Spanning conceptual, philosophical, cognitive, design, and...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss and present design probes investigating how pervasive displays could offer unique opportunities for enhancing discovery and learning with “big data.” Our collaboration across three universities undertook a series of design exercises investigating approaches for collaborative, interactive, tangibles, and multitouch-engaged visualizations...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial skills allow us to mentally imagine and manipulate objects and their spatial relations. These skills are crucial in both every day and expert tasks. The present paper reports on an evaluation of a 3D game developed to train a specific spatial skill known as penetrative thinking—the ability to imagine cross-sections of 3D objects from their...
Chapter
Social interaction through telepresence robots can be challenging for a robot operator due to lack of spatial awareness caused by limited idiothetic cues and narrow field of view of a robot’s camera. We explore the use of a third-person perspective, popular in video game design, to provide missing spatial cues to remote robot operators. We present...
Conference Paper
Spatial abilities are grounded in the way we interact with and understand the world through our physical body. However, existing spatial ability training materials are largely paper- or screen-based; they rarely engage or encourage the use of the body. Tangible and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies provide opportunities to re-imagine designing for...
Conference Paper
We present two proof of concept experiences for a virtual reality (VR) game that draws on several medium-specific qualities of mobile, location-based, and tangible storytelling. In contemporary smartphone-VR, experiences are limited by short playtimes, limited interactions, and limited movement within a physical space. To address these limitations,...
Conference Paper
Advances in biology and computational power have led to the availability of large biological data sets, yet these advances raise new design challenges. Designers must build effective tools that cater to the needs of biologists and data scientists in order to visually explore and manipulate data for modeling and analysis. We present the Tangible Ten...
Article
Biological networks analysis has become a systematic and large-scale phenomenon. Most biological systems are often difficult to interpret due to the complexity of relationships and structural features. Moreover, existing primarily web-based interfaces for biological networks analysis often have limitations in usability as well as in supporting high...
Conference Paper
We used the LED array around the edges of a custom tangible as a low-resolution display to provide users with real-time visual feedback on the current state of the system. We developed a guideline for mapping different types of edge feedback to different tangible interactions. We evaluated its effectiveness in two user studies. The first is an info...
Conference Paper
We explore how pervasive displays could offer unique opportunities for enhancing discovery and learning with "big data". In 2012-2014, our collaboration across three universities undertook a series of design exercises investigating approaches for collaborative, interactive, tangibles, and multitouch-engaged visualizations of genomic and related sci...
Article
Full-text available
An increasing number of museum exhibits incorporate multi-modal technologies and interactions; yet these media divert visitors’ attention away from the cultural heritage artifacts on display. This paper proposes an overarching conceptual structure for designing tangible and embodied narrative interaction with cultural heritage artifacts within a mu...
Conference Paper
Longitudinal and large-scale studies have shown a strong link between spatial abilities and success in STEM learning and careers. However, many spatial learning materials are either still 2D-based, or not optimized to engage students. In addition, research in spatial cognition distinguishes many spatial abilities as independent from one another. Th...
Conference Paper
We present two proof of concept sensory experiences designed for virtual reality (VR). Our experiences bring together smell, sound, taste, touch, and sight, focusing on low-cost, non-digital materials and on passive interactions. We also contribute a design rationale and a review of sensory interactions, particularly those designed for VR. We argue...
Conference Paper
As shown in many large-scale and longitudinal studies, spatial ability is strongly associated with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning and career success. At the same time, a growing volume of research connects cognitive science theories with tangible/embodied interactions (TEI) and virtual reality (VR) to offer novel...
Article
Full-text available
With the intention of bringing uniformity to Bengali text entry research, here we present a new approach for calculating the most popular English text entry evaluation metrics for Bengali. To demonstrate our approach, we conducted a user study where we evaluated four popular Bengali text entry techniques.
Conference Paper
A growing body of empirical evidence from the cognitive sciences shows that physical experience can enhance cognition in areas that involve spatial thinking. At the same time, virtual environments provide opportunities to engage learners with novel spatial tasks that cannot be achieved in the real world. Yet combining virtual worlds with tangible i...
Conference Paper
We present a system for diegetic tangible objects in virtual reality (VR) narratives. The system integrates a custom-designed sensor unit, built with low-cost off-the-shelf hardware, to track objects in VR and to support a variety of custom-made and found tangibles. In its current form, the sensor unit tracks the objects' orientation and supports t...
Conference Paper
We developed a custom tangible that uses LED arrays around the edges as a low-resolution display to provide real-time visual feedback on the current state of the system. We developed a guideline for mapping different types of edge feedback to different tangible interactions. We evaluated its effectiveness in an informal user study where users inter...
Conference Paper
Rapid growth in the volume of cancer DNA sequencing data has not been matched by an increase in our ability to understand, explore, and interpret this data. There is a need for new tools that can enhance analyses in order to enable us to interpret the data, discover new or unexpected information, and ultimately form insights. We present Tangible mt...
Article
Full-text available
Aspects of spatial cognition, specifically spatial skills, are strongly correlated with interest and success in STEM courses and STEM-related professions. Because growth in STEM-related industries is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, it is important to develop evidence-based and theoretically grounded methods and interventions that c...
Conference Paper
We present a novel color-coded feedback method that highlights the types of corrections made by autocorrections. We then present results of a longitudinal user study with 7-8-year-old children that compared the new method with the conventional autocorrection feedback method, in terms of leaning new words and spelling. Results suggested that the new...
Conference Paper
We present Active Pathways, an active tangible and tabletop system that aims to support collaborative discovery and learning in biochemical modeling. Our work extends ideas from embodied cognition that suggest that interactive systems that support model building by coupling actions made with the motor system to the dynamic properties of external an...
Conference Paper
Biological data is becoming so complex, it is difficult for scientists and other professionals to interpret and understand it. New tools are needed to better support the manipulation and understanding of data in order to improve analyses and the formation of new hypotheses. Tangible mtDNA is an active tangible and tabletop system that allows multip...
Conference Paper
Urban planning, and campus planning in particular, can benefit greatly from technology that fosters and leverages collaborative, participatory planning which includes all affected stakeholders. Interactive surfaces such as tabletops and walls, and spaces such as 3D environments are examples of such technologies. Our research aims to explore and ass...
Conference Paper
Actibles are an open source hardware/software platform for creating active tangibles. Actibles contain a smartwatch core, which eases both hardware and software development, and enables application developers to leverage various web technologies. The smartwatch core is augmented by custom hardware that enables an expanded set of tangible interactio...
Conference Paper
WebTEM is a Web application to record text entry metrics. It is developed with common Web technologies, thus works on any device with a modern Web browser, and with any keyboard. We evaluated its effectiveness in an empirical study that compared the default Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone keyboards. Results of the study highl...
Conference Paper
We are increasingly tethered to pixelated boxes of varying shapes and sizes. These devices are ever present in our lives, transporting us daily into vast information and computational realms. And while our interactions with digital devices are arguably becoming more fluid and "natural", they still make only limited use of our motor system and large...
Conference Paper
The growing interest in wearable devices has resulted in a wave of novel and improved text entry techniques for smartwatches and other ultra-small devices. These techniques are not only diverse in nature but also evaluated in different experimental conditions. This makes it difficult for designers and researchers to compare the techniques, and thei...
Conference Paper
We present three prototypes that aim to elicit historical and experiential qualities of 16th century prayer-nuts through narrative design and sensory interactions. Our goal is to enhance the presentation of cultural artifacts that must be presented behind glass to ensure their conservation. We aim to provide visitors with opportunities to form pers...
Conference Paper
We present a new smart-restorable backspace technique to facilitate correction of "overlooked" errors on touchscreen-based tablets. We conducted an empirical study to compare the new backspace technique with the conventional one. Results of the study revealed that the new technique improves the overall text entry performance, both in terms of speed...
Conference Paper
TEI researchers/designers are often discouraged from building complex interactive environments by the requirement of high technical knowledge. In this studio/workshop, we present the ROSS Toolkit that offers tools to abstract/automate low-level programming of technical details, thereby simplifying the design and programming of interactions between...
Conference Paper
We present Sparse Tangibles, a tabletop and active tangible-based framework to support cross-platform, collaborative gene network exploration using a Web interface. It uses smartwatches as active tangibles to allow query construction on- and off-the-table. We expand their interaction vocabulary using inertial sensors and a custom case. We also intr...
Conference Paper
This paper describes the research and design of three tangible and embodied prototypes that aim to enable users to meaningfully engage with an artifact's historical context and use. Together, these prototypes engage users in a cultural heritage experience that is sensorially embodied through a 'multimodal' ensemble of visual, aural, tactile, and ol...
Conference Paper
This paper presents a preliminary framework to inform the analysis and design of tangible narratives. Researchers and designers have been using tangible user interfaces (TUIs) for storytelling over the past two decades, but to date no comprehensive analysis of these systems exists. We argue that storytelling systems that use digitally-enhanced phys...
Conference Paper
ifacts in cultural history museums are typically enclosed in glass displays, decontextualized from their social and cultural origins, resulting in a "look, but don’t touch" encounter. With reference to perspectives and counter-perspectives of the "multisensory museum" (Levent & Pascual-Leone, 2014), this paper describes our development of experimen...
Article
The present study was designed to investigate the incorporation of tools into the human body schema. Previous research on tool use suggests that through physical interaction with a tool, the representation of the body is adjusted to incorporate or "embody" the tool. The present experiment was conducted to test the limb-specific nature of tool embod...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
More and more objects of our everyday environment are becoming smart and connected, offering us new interaction possibilities. Tangible interaction and gestural interaction are promising communication means with these objects in this post-WIMP interaction era. Although based on different principles, they both exploit our body awareness and our skil...
Article
Museums are exploring new ways of using emerging digital technologies to enhance the visitor experience. In this context, our research focuses on designing, developing and studying interactions for museum exhibits that introduce cultural concepts in ways that are tangible and embodied. We introduce here a tangible tabletop installation piece that w...
Article
Full-text available
The 'Universal Threshold Object' is a tangible device for television-like interactive narratives based on the TV show American Horror Story. The project uses gestural interactions with a tangible controller that provides haptic feedback as an interaction strategy to augment the narrative pleasures of immersion and dramatic agency. We leverage a bra...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this article, we present a new user authentication technique for touchscreen-based smartphone users that augments pseudo touch pressure as an extra security measure to the conventional digit-lock technique. The new technique enhances security by offering more unique password combinations than the most popular ones, by making each password specif...
Conference Paper
This tutorial explores the possibility of using touchscreen-based mobile devices as active tangibles on an interactive tabletop surface. The tutorial starts with an open discussion about various aspects of tangible interaction, including an overview of different approaches and design principles. It then guides participants through the design and de...
Article
The present study investigated the incorporation of task-specific objects into our body schema (i.e., tool appropriation/embodiment). Previous research on tool appropriation suggests that, through physical interaction with a tool, the representation of our body is adjusted to "embody" the tool. The present experiment considered the different medium...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The digital convergence of broadcast television, user-generated content from online and mobile sources, and interactive surfaces brings an opportunity for the development of platforms to support media-rich data storytelling for television audiences. In this paper, we report on a production model and system featuring a multi-touch interactive table...
Article
Full-text available
Multi-touch and tangible interfaces provide unique opportunities for enhancing learning and discovery with big data. However, existing interaction techniques have limitations when manipulating large data sets. Our goal is to define novel interaction techniques for multi-touch and tangible interfaces, which support the construction of complex querie...
Article
We present two new user authentication techniques that look and feel like slide-to-unlock. The intention is to encourage users, who do not use a user authentication technique on their devices, to start using one. Results of a user study showed that the new techniques perform relatively well compared to slide-to-unlock and digit-lock, and users find...
Conference Paper
The combination of advanced genomic technologies and computational tools enables researchers to conduct largescale experiments that answer biological questions in unprecedented ways. However, interaction tools in this area are currently immature. We propose that tangible, embodied, and embedded interaction (TEI) offers unique opportunities for enha...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Our research explores the connection between physical and virtual tools. This work is based on research from the cognitive sciences showing that physical and virtual tool use extends our brain's representation of peripersonal space to include the tool. These findings led us to investigate if tool appropriation transfers from virtual to physical too...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
"Don't Open That Door" is a gesture-based interactive narrative project set in the universe of the TV show Supernatural. The project leverages expectations of the horror genre and fan knowledge of the show to elicit expressive interactions and provide satisfying dramatic responses within a seamless scenario in order to create dramatic agency for th...
Article
Full-text available
We are interested in the way players identify with their virtual characters, and how this identification could be exploited to augment players' cognitive abilities. Our approach is based on the cognitive neuroscience theory of common coding and related experiments, that suggest that perception, imagination and execution of movement are linked by a...
Conference Paper
Sketching is a vital process in scientific research and procedural learning. In educational contexts, sketching helps students visualize abstract concepts and facilitates communication with their instructors as well as with other students. Inspired by a problem-based learning science class in which students use papers and pens to collaboratively sk...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Pictures at an Exhibition is a physical/digital puppetry piece that uses tangible interface puppets to modify a virtual scene projected at the back of the stage in real-time. The piece merges traditional puppeteering practices with tangible interaction technologies and virtual environments to create a novel performance for the live stage. This pape...
Conference Paper
In this paper we present Responsive Objects, Surfaces, and Spaces (ROSS) API, a tangible toolkit that allows designers and developers to easily build applications for heterogeneous network devices. We describe the unique nested structure of the ROSS framework that enables cross-platform and device development and demonstrate its capabilities using...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We report on an ethnographic study of the work practice and discovery process in a systems biology lab, and outline a tabletop visualization that was developed based on this study, in collaboration with the researchers. The feedback from the researchers on the current prototype is presented, and ongoing revisions are outlined. We conclude with some...
Conference Paper
We review the creative activity in the software development process of the ROSS (Responsive Objects, Surfaces, and Spaces) API. The ROSS API is a tangible toolkit that allows designers and developers to easily build applications for many different tangible platforms while still accommodating the continued evolution of the underlying sensing technol...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Pictures at an Exhibition is a physical/digital puppetry piece that uses tangible interface puppets to modify a virtual scene projected at the back of the stage in real-time. Telling the story of a heist in an art gallery, the actions of the puppets are digitally reflected in abstract changes to an artwork in the scene. The piece merges traditional...
Article
Gestures play an important role in communication. They support the listener, who is trying to understand the speaker. However, they also support the speaker by facilitating the conceptualization and verbalization of messages and reducing cognitive load. Gestures thus play an important role in collaboration and also in problem-solving tasks. In huma...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we will introduce the ROSS framework, an integrated application development toolkit that extends across different tangible platforms such as multi-user interactive tabletop displays, full-body interaction spaces, RFID-tagged objects and smartphones with multiple sensors. We will discuss how the structure of the ROSS framework is desi...
Chapter
Players project their intentions, expressions and movements into ­virtual worlds. A dominant reference point for this projection is their avatar. We explore the transfer of a player’s own body movements onto their virtual self, drawing on cognitive science’s common coding theory as a model for understanding their self-recognition. This chapter pres...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Throwing is an important physical skill that lays the foundation for the ability to participate in many physical activities and sports experiences. We aim to support the development of physical skills through exertion game design; our focus here is on the design of an exertion based throwing game that aims to help children improve their ability to...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we introduce approaches to navigating and manipulating objects in a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) that engage tangible objects and an interactive table interface. We also identify three design concerns that are common to physical-virtual connectivity for interaction with CVE systems. At last, we propose solutions to these i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Computer mediated group collaboration, particularly in the design and engineering disciplines, is in need of better applications that suit the needs of effective exchange of information. Multi-touch surfaces offer the capabilities to augment and better enable face-to-face interaction with digital content and applications. This paper presents the de...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We have developed an embodied puppet interface that translates a player's body movements to a virtual character, thus enabling the player to have a fine grained and personalized control of the avatar. To test the efficacy and short-term effects of this control interface, we developed a two-part experiment, where the performance of users controlling...
Article
Full-text available
We describe the design and development of PuzzleTale, an interactive storytelling system that makes use of tangible puzzle pieces on the surface of an interactive table. In the PuzzleTale system, assembling the tangible puzzle piece can affect the digital characters and create a flexible story context. Different assembled patterns represent the div...