Tangible user interfaces

My proposed project was originally a screen-based one meant for a museum exhibit. My lecturer criticized it as being too “boring” and asked me to think of a user interface. This meant that it was back to the drawing board for me, as I had to rethink the whole project concept based on the idea of a user interface, and not a screen with a keyboard and mouse. Actually it does make sense. Who would want to visit a museum to see a screen-based exhibit when one is already using the computer all the time? Museum visitors want to see unique objects in the museum.

So while doing research about user interfaces, I discovered the term “tangible user interfaces” and wondered why I had not known about this earlier. It is such a wonderful concept. Wikipedia defines it as: “… a user interface in which a person interacts with digital information through the physical environment.”


  1. Physical representations are computationally coupled to underlying digital information.
  2. Physical representations embody mechanisms for interactive control.
  3. Physical representations are perceptually coupled to actively mediated digital representations.
  4. Physical state of tangibles embodies key aspects of the digital state of a system

Here are some good examples of what a TUI is:-

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