Tangible query interfacesBrygg Ullmer, Zachary Malchano, and Professor Hiroshi Ishii / 2002

Tangible query interfaces

This project is developing new means for querying relational databases and live datastreams through the manipulation of physical objects. Parameterized query fragments are embodied as physical tokens (“parameter wheels”). These tokens are manipulated, interpreted, and graphically augmented on a series of sliding racks. Token rotation maps to parameter selection; token adjacencies maps to Boolean AND/OR operations; token ordering maps to result sorting; and individual racks map to parenthetical groupings. The interface should support querying to a wide range of relational databases; initial target domains include media databases, network management, and bioinformatics.