PhotoLens is a hybrid tool, consisting of a physical and a spatially coupled digital component, which we conceived for browsing and organization of photos on an interactive tabletop display. The collections of different users (e.g., friends, family members) are displayed as piles on the tabletop. In order to save real estate and avoid clutter, we use PhotoLens to gain a localized, unfolded view of the pictures contained in one pile, without interfering with the information landscape of the shared display.
The digital part of PhotoLens appears when the physical element is placed on the interactive tabletop. Like a semi-transparent filter or a lens, this allows for changing the visualization of a photo collection from a pile to a thumbnail view (reminding of a contact sheet).
Users can select pictures from the thumbnail view with a pen, and drag them to the opaque area displayed in the lower part of the lens, thus copying them in a kind of temporary tray. When the PhotoLens is placed onto another pile, the pictures previously stored in the tray remain there, and others can be added. When placing the PhotoLens onto an empty region of the display, a new collection/pile containing the photos from the different collections can be created.
The physical component acts as a haptic controller for the placement and visualization of the digital lens. The upper part of the cylinder can be rotated to change the zoom factor of the thumbnail view within the lens. The physical tool can also be dragged along a scrollbar, which is graphically displayed on the left side of the digital lens, thus suggesting two-handed interaction.
The whole application is deployed on a table with a built-in LCD monitor that is equipped with a DViT overlay for interactivity.