In today’s world, the use of digital media (internet, television, GPS, mobile phones, etc.) has taken a dominant place in our daily lives. Although there is a great deal of innovation in the technological field, the focus is too little on the interface that nurtures the interaction with the user. Just think of all the frustrations and limitations when using remote controls, keyboards, mice and joysticks. That is why there is a need for interfaces that better connect the virtual world of electronic media with the more tangible, physical world we live in.

A broad range of existing sensors and actuators can be successfully implemented for designing better interfaces (for instance the iPhone with multi touch screen, the WII controller with accelerometer/optical sensing and Kinect with 3D camera). Companies lack the knowledge and tools to explore these domains, thereby overlooking the chance to enhance the interaction between user and product although innovations on the level of interfaces lead to a direct impact on the user experience, followed by an increase of the customer’s satisfaction.

The TIII Project

With this research project we want to focus on tangible, intuitive, interactive interfaces (TIII) that consist of several crucial elements like a tangible form, an intuitive use, an interactive technology and the interface with a software application. It is our goal to start a platform that supports the design and development of these new interfaces or controllers. This platform will offer a network of partners (educational institutions, companies and organizations) and relevant tools (methods and a toolbox) to explore the possibilities of TIIIs and support the design process. On our website people can find an overview of the state-of-the-art and the results of some cases done by the students. A crucial component in the design process for interactive interfaces is the possibility for rapid prototyping that allows test hands-on interaction with users. Thanks to new electronic prototyping platforms(e.g Arduino, Phidgets, Processing,… ), it is easier to rapidly build interactive prototypes for the exploration of tangible intuitive interactions.

          IWT TETRA

The TIII project lives and breathes in the heart of Howest’s innovative Industrial Design Center ( and is funded by the IWT TETRA program.

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