Stacks on the surface: resolving physical order using fiducial markers with structured transparency

Tom Bartindale, Chris Harrison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

17 Citations (Scopus)


We present a method for identifying the order of stacked items on interactive surfaces. This is achieved using conventional, passive fiducial markers, which in addition to reflective regions, also incorporate structured areas of transparency. This allows particular orderings to appear as unique marker patterns. We discuss how such markers are encoded and fabricated, and include relevant mathematics. To motivate our approach, we comment on various scenarios where stacking could be especially useful. We conclude with details from our proof-of-concept implementation, built on Microsoft Surface.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITS'09 - Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces
Subtitle of host publicationBanff, Alberta, Canada — November 23 - 25, 2009
EditorsSheelagh Carpendale, Michael Haller, Stacey Scott
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781605587332
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer vision
  • Direct manipulation
  • Fiducial markers
  • Input
  • Interaction
  • Physical
  • Physical state
  • Piles
  • Stacking
  • Tangible
  • Vertical ordering

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