Physical Browsing and Selection: Easy Interaction with Ambient Services

Pasi Välkkynen, Johan Plomp, Timo Tuomisto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Physical browsing is an interaction paradigm that associates digital information with physical objects. It can be regarded as analogous to browsing the Web—the physical environment contains links to digital information; by selecting them, various services can be activated. Physical browsing is based on selecting a physical world target with a mobile terminal—for example, a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag with a mobile phone equipped with a suitable reader device. Selection causes information related to the target to be displayed on the mobile terminal, some service related to the target object to be “activated,” or the mobile terminal to be connected to another device in the ambient intelligence environment. Interaction with services embedded in the physical environment first requires their discovery. Users must perceive the availability, purpose, capabilities, and way of use of these affordances, whose subsequent use involves a number of selection tasks to indicate, for example, objects of interest, choices, targets for interaction, and sources of information. While in the familiar desktop environment a series of pointing, clicking, and dragging actions manipulate objects on the screen; similar interaction techniques can now be developed for physical browsing and manipulating data associated with the physical objects. Because of the diverse nature of the physical world, there is a large variety of solutions for implementing these browsing and selection tasks and associated interaction paradigms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman-Centric Interfaces for Ambient Intelligence
EditorsHamid Aghajan, Juan Carlos Augusto, Ramón López-Cózar Delgado
PublisherAcademic Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-374708-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • physical browsing
  • physical selection
  • affordance
  • RFID tag
  • interaction


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