The MADE-Axis: a Modular Actuated Device to Embody the Axis of a data dimension

Jim Smiley, Benjamin Lee, Siddhant Tandon, Maxime Cordeil, Lonni Besançon, Jarrod Knibbe, Bernhard Jenny, Tim Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Tangible controls-especially sliders and rotary knobs-have been explored in a wide range of interactive applications for desktop and immersive environments. Studies have shown that they support greater precision and provide proprioceptive benefits, such as support for eyes-free interaction. However, such controls tend to be expressly designed for specific applications. We draw inspiration from a bespoke controller for immersive data visualisation, but decompose this design into a simple, wireless, composable unit featuring two actuated sliders and a rotary encoder. Through these controller units, we explore the interaction opportunities around actuated sliders; supporting precise selection, infinite scrolling, adaptive data representations, and rich haptic feedback; all within a mode-less interaction space. We demonstrate the controllers' use for simple, ad hoc desktop interaction,before moving on to more complex, multi-dimensional interactions in VR and AR. We show that the flexibility and composability of these actuated controllers provides an emergent design space which covers the range of interactive dynamics for visual analysis. In a user study involving pairs performing collaborative visual analysis tasks in mixed-reality, our participants were able to easily compose rich visualisations, make insights and discuss their findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number501
Number of pages23
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberISS
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • data visualization
  • embodied interfaces

Cite this