Dynamic Knobs

The buttons that can be found in mobile information devices are, compared to what our fingers are able to do, relatively simple. This project proposes richer buttons, through the inclusion of a force sensor and a force-exerting motor on the inside of a mobile phone. The ‘Dynamic Knob’ can be used as a shape-based display, a pressure-sensitive input, and a variety of combinations of the two:

Taking a photograph is a frequently performed operation, and should, as for the button involved, be easily performable – however, it is a two-step process in itself (including the intermediate step of focusing) – which, ideally, should be haptically perceivable while operating the button. At the same time, deleting a folder of pictures should be harder to perform, being more critical, and less often used.

Furthermore, the device allows for the ‘squeezing’ of a voice mail message out of the phone: This enables users to navigate within the message while holding the phone closely to the ear: Squeezing normally to play, releasing to rewind, and squeezing hardly to fast-forward.


Dynamic Knobs: Shape Change as a Means of Interaction on a Mobile Phone

Hemmert, Fabian, Joost, Gesche, Knörig, André, and Wettach, Reto 2008. Dynamic Knobs: Shape Change as a Means of Interaction on a Mobile Phone. In CHI ’08: Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 2309-2314.

Research by

Dr.-Ing. Fabian Hemmert

Dr.-Ing. Fabian Hemmert is a design researcher. Born and raised in Gütersloh, he studied Computer Science/Media Design at the University of Bielefeld (B.Sc.) and Interface Design at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences (M.A.).
Susann Hamann

Matthias Löwe

Matthias Löwe is engaged in workshops, talks and festivals of the Initiative Creative Gaming to establish an artistic and creative use of games by kids. As an interaction designer, he is researching playful interaction and procedural rhetoric. He is also staging gamejams, interactive theater and various gameculture-events with Gamestorm Berlin, shows game movies at the monthly Night of Machinima and co-organizes A MAZE. events like the first European and first African indiegamefestival. Matthias joined the Design Research Lab Berlin in summer 2008 and is now coordinating this year’s Code Week initiatives in Germany.
Josefine Zeipelt

Anne Wohlauf

Anne Wohlauf is an interaction designer and has been working at the design research lab since 2008. Her research interests are tangible interaction, digital education and identity management. Currently, she is working on several projects with the Bundesdruckerei GmbH, exploring the future of identity and security.
Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost

Gesche Joost is Professor for Design Research at the University of the Arts Berlin and since 2005 heading the Design Research Lab.