New Making Renaissance


Fl.UIs (2015)

Liquid Mediated Vision-Based Touch Surfaces

Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2015

Tim Campbell, Cesar Torres, Eric Paulos


Fluid User Interfaces (Fl.UIs) are liquid-based touch surfaces that use computer-vision to detect and interpret a range of tactile user inputs. While Fl.UIs have less input resolution than digital touch screens, they provide an excellent low-cost solution for rapidly prototyping non-rectilinear screen designs as well as exploring novel surface interaction techniques. Fabricated on a laser cutter using low-cost materials, Fl.UIs use unique shape outlines to displace an internal colored liquid to regions-of-interest for a camera. This paper presents a set of software tools that help users rapidly design, fabricate and author interactions with Fl.UIs. The robust construction and an unpowered surface makes Fl.UIs well-suited for outdoor and public installations. The Fl.UIs prototyping tool encourages these uncommon "screens" emerging in complex environments (i.e. urban spaces, benches, tables, fountains, sidewalks).

Design Tool


Tim Campbell
Cesar Torres
Eric Paulos