In mixed reality, affordances for information need to be designed for users' construction of an interaction mental model. In a gesture-based interaction paradigm, people can directly manipulate digital information by using their hands, rather than input devices.
To this end, our design focuses on displaying information, so that users can interact with it by relying on the way they manipulate everyday life objects. The Mug interface explores the idea to rely on the affordances provided by a mug, and to metaphorically represent it as a container of information.
When manipulating a real mug we know we can move it around by holding its handle, and incline it to pour its content. Empty mugs are expected to be lighter than full ones (e.g. contain less data), smoking mugs are expected to be hot (e.g. contain recent data). Additionally, a mug is an everyday life object which we use in different environments, e.g., in the office, in a living room, in a kitchen.
A first prototype of such a mug metaphor interface has been built in order to investigate the possibility to map the affordances of real world objects to gestures, relying on the conceptual model in which such real objects are embedded. In such a concept, mugs and units of information, the latter represented as kind of drops, can be manipulated across the display. The dominant hand, e.g. the right one, is devoted to the manipulation and navigation of information. A pie menu displaying containers of information is displayed in correspondence of the right hand. The non-dominant hand (e.g. the left one) works as command invocation, managing a menu of resources (e.g. drain, displays, printers). Such menu can be scrolled with a movement of the finger on a holed gear, which makes the circle segments rotate. The dominant hand moves units of information to the preferred resource. The pie menus appear in correspondence of the hands, thus "following" the user while moving across the display, rather than being operable just in a fixed location on the screen.
The Mug Interface is also presented in a short Video.