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ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM CHI 2014)
** CHI 2014 Best Paper Honorable Mention Award **
** CHI 2014 People's Choice Best Talk Award **
GaussBricks: Magnetic Building Blocks for
Constructive Tangible Interactions on Portable Displays
Rong-Hao Liang1, 2 Liwei Chan1 Hung-Yu Tseng1 Han-Chih Kuo1 Da-Yuan Huang1
De-Nian Yang2 Bing-Yu Chen1
1National Taiwan University
2Academia Sinica
As a system of magnetic building blocks, GaussBricks facilitates constructive tangible interactions on portable displays. The Hall-sensor grid mounted to the back of the display derives the geometry and skeleton of the physical structures in real time.
[2014/04/03] For recent updates, please check our Facebook Page: GaussSense - A Camera that Sees Magnetic Fields

[2014/04/26] Vector Graphics of GaussBricks are Available for Laser Cutting (ai, 1.1MB)
[2014/05/12] We release our beta version of development toolkit and application examples. If you are interested to give a try, please contact us via the corresponding email
This work describes a novel building block system for tangible interaction design, GaussBricks, which enables real-time constructive tangible interactions on portable displays. Given its simplicity, the mechanical design of the magnetic building blocks facilitates the construction of configurable forms. The form constructed by the magnetic building blocks, which are connected by the magnetic joints, allows users to stably manipulate with various elastic force feedback mechanisms. With an analog Hall-sensor grid mounted to its back, a portable display determines the geometrical configuration and detects various user interactions in real time. This work also introduce several methods to enable shape changing, multi-touch input, and display capabilities in the construction. The proposed building block system enriches how individuals interact with the portable displays physically.
Reuters - Touchscreen blocks build new layers of computer interaction
New Scientist - Magnetic Bricks Beam 3D Objects into Your Screen
Discovery News - Magnetic Bricks Bring 3-D Interaction to Screens
Softpedia - New Building Blocks Can Interact with Touchscreens Thanks to Magnets
PSFK - Magnetic Bricks Create Touchscreen Animations You Can Play With
GizModo - Magnetic Building Blocks That Interact With Touchscreen Tablet Apps
Geekapolis - These Magnetic Building Blocks Will Interact With Touchscreen Tablet Apps
Electronic Product - Design Your Next Project on a Touchscreen Device Using These Magnetic Bricks

Press Photos for Download (zip, 2 MB)
ACM Portal
Fixed version for Download (pdf, 4.4 MB)*
Youtube - Complete version (3m10s)
* Bibliography Fixed: 27. Voelker, S., Nakajima, K., Thoresen, C., Itoh, Y.,Øvergård, K. I., and Borchers, J. PUCs: Detecting transparent, passive untouched capacitive widgets on unmodified multi-touch displays. In Proc. ITS ’13 (2013), 101–104.
(New!) How to get the GaussSense boards?
Further readings: Project Gauss: Portable Object Tracking Using Magnetic Sensor Grid
@inproceedings{Liang:CHI14:GaussBricks, author = {Liang, Rong-Hao and Chan, Liwei and Tseng, Hung-Yu and Kuo, Han-Chih and Huang, Da-Yuan and Yang, De-Nian and Chen, Bing-Yu}, title = {GaussBricks: Magnetic Building Blocks for Constructive Tangible Interactions on Portable Displays}, booktitle = {CHI '14: Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human-Factors in Computing Systems}, year = {2014}, isbn = {978-1-4503-2473-1}, pages = {to appear}, location = {Toronto, ON, Canada}, publisher = {ACM}, }