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ChairIO, the Chair-Based Interface

The interface is based on a commercially available seat, the Swopper™ (www.aeris.de). The stool is an ergonomic seat for use in an office environment. It has the following properties: rotatable seat, 360° pivot point, height and damping adjustment, and a linkage arm consisting of a spring/shock combination. The seat can tilt in any direction. The spring/damper system allows the user to bounce. To adjust to different users, the seat height and the spring strength of the stool can be altered. The seat itself is on a rotational system on top of the linkage arm, allowing it to independently rotate.

ChairIO User Interaction Metaphor

To operate the ChairIO, the user sits on the device and, by shifting their body weight, tilts it in any direction or rotates the seat. This physical movement of the seat is mapped to viewpoint/direction movement in the game environment. For example, to move forward, the user simply moves their body forward, tilting the seat forward. Rotating the view requires slightly rotating the seat, thereby triggering slow or faster rotation of the view in that direction. [3] shows that, for a 3D ground following movement, this method is easy and highly intuitive to use and, furthermore, is fun. The movement is computationally divided into the component translation and rotation. Translation of the current viewpoint is performed by tilting of the seat in any direction and translation speed is non-linearly mapped in relationship to how far in the direction of the desired travel the user tilts the stool. In an area surrounding the center the mapping is linear; Thereafter, we map the distance as linear plus a cubic factor. This allows the user to travel at higher speeds by tilting the seat further in the direction of travel. In contrast to that presented in [2], we have removed the zero zone centering, assuming it’s use was limited in this context due to the fast paced nature of FPS game play. The rotation functions regardless of the tilt of the seat for the translational component. The figures above show the ChairIO in use.

Tracking Method

The current method of determining the position and orientation of the seat uses two points on the seat determined by a magnetic tracker. This method was chosen primarily for its robustness in initializing the interface, as it is not position dependant and allows re-adjustment of the seat’s height. An initialization procedure sets a few initial values used in the calculation, such as the rotation of the seat and the position of the Swopper. From the two positions we are able to obtain the translational component from the initial position. We are also able to calculate the rotation of the seat by applying the inverse tilt transform to the seat and comparing with the initial rotation. In the future we plan to integrate low-price standard sensors into the chair.
The software written to connect the interface to Linux or Windows applications makes use of VRPN. For Windows, PPJoy is used to present the chairIO data as joystick data to applications.

More Information

The book "Concepts and Technologies for Pervasive Games: A Reader for Pervasive Gaming Research vol. 1" includes a chapter about the chairIO: ChairIO - the Chair-Based Interface, Beckhaus S., Blom K., Haringer M., in book "Concepts and Technologies for Pervasive Games: A Reader for Pervasive Gaming Research vol. 1", Ed: Magerkurth und Rötzler, Shaker Verlag, Nov. 2007, pages 231-264, ISBN:978-3-8322-6223-5, File(s): Paper (pdf)


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Media Coverage


Sitzbasierte Steuerung von Desktopapplikationen und eine ergonomische Bewertung

Brauer, J. and Beckhaus, S.
Dokumentation des 56. Arbeitswissenschaftlichen Kongresses in Darmstadt, 24.03. bis 26.03.2010, GfA-Press, Dortmund.
File(s): Paper (pdf)

Zwischen real und digital: Intuitive, reichhaltige und freudvolle Schnittstellen

Beckhaus, S.
in Book: "Virtuelle Welten als Basistechnologie für Kunst und Kultur?", Bogen, Kuck, Schröter (Hrsg.), pp. 37-53, Reihe Medienumbrüche, Band 38, 2009, transcript Verlag, Bielefeld

ChairIO - the Chair-Based Interface

Beckhaus S., Blom K., Haringer M.
in book "Concepts and Technologies for Pervasive Games: A Reader for Pervasive Gaming Research vol. 1",
Ed: Magerkurth und Rötzler,
Shaker Verlag, Nov. 2007
pages 231-264
File(s): Bookchapter (pdf)

A new gaming device and interaction method for a First-Person-Shooter

Beckhaus S., Blom K., Haringer M.
Proceedings of the Computer Science and Magic 2005,
GC Developer Science Track, Leipzig, 2005
File(s): Paper (PDF)

Intuitive, Hands-free Travel Interfaces for Virtual Environments

Beckhaus S., Blom K., Haringer M.
IEEE VR2005, Workshop "New directions in 3D User Interfaces ",
March 2005, Bonn, Shaker Verlag, p. 57-60
File(s): Paper (PDF)

People involved:

Steffi Beckhaus, Kristopher J. Blom, Matthias Haringer