This stage, I watched some official recovery videos and analyzed the foot gestures of the injured professional athletes ( from the human foot gesture pespective), which aims to prove what foot stretching gestures that I have obtained form Peter Liu, therefore engage the final foot gestures applied in my project.

屏幕快照 2016-11-29 上午5.01.04.png

Figure 3.0


Figure 3.1

According to Figure 3.0 & 3.1, the measurements data were taken a injured ordinary user,by sitting with his leg stationary and perpendicular to the ground at as close to a 90-degree angle as he could. According to the analysis of these videos, all the feet and heel injuries need to use these basic stretching behaviors, and they pointed to the four different directions, left, right, front and back, allowing me to think of the players’ movement on the court.

As a consequence, these behaviors have been prooved through the interview, the documents from the specialist, and the case study, therefore they can be used in my final concept.


1. Achilles Tendon Rupture Rehab Plan

available at:  Gesture 1

2. Ruptured Achilles Tendon Rehab Program

available at: Gesture 2

3. Achilles Tendon Rupture Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

available at: Gesture 3

4. iXL Ep. 3 – Achilles Tendon Rupture Recovery

available at: Gesture 4

5. Alan Weibel. An Athlete’s Torn Achilles Recovery

available at: Gesture 5




Figure 2.0 Input : The digital set up of coach’s tactics

For the foot-based tangible interactive project, I analyzed a successful example, Mamba motion-tracking LED basketball court (“Nike Rise 2.0”,2015), which was created by the AKQA design team and NIKE.

It is more than just a simple basketball court with LED lights, instead it is a complex tangible interactive system, consisting of four big parts. In this system, there are two input interfaces and output interfaces respectively.

From the input vision, the first one is the wearable devices that are designed for the basketball players,which can be worn on the ankle , aimed to directly track motions’ data and transfer to the computer. The second is the exclusive software which is designed for the coaches to change various tactics and react to the computer as well as the big LED screen court.

article-02-c-large.jpg   Input: physcial wearable accessory’s recording device

output: The movement data from the wearable device

On the other hand, in terms of the output system, the first one is the computer which is responsible to receive the data from the tracking device and send the related instruction to the LED screen (which is under the court and shows on the surface). Another important output interface is consisted of the sensors inside the floor, they receive the instructions from the computer and finally generate the various graphics, showing on the LED screen.

In this system, the big traditional basketball court and the players’ feet gestures or movement are redesigned as the physical interfaces, whereas the software and the digital system are programmed as the digital interfaces. As a consequence, they work together accurately and therefore provide users with an enjoyable and unexpected tangible experience.

RESEARCH STAGE II—Why use the feet gestures to interact with the tangible interface ?



According to Springer, J., & Siebes, C. (1996), foot-based interaction was put into the spotlight due to the fact that the feet provide an alternative to the other body parts such as hands for accessible input and provides the opportunity to make the interaction more inclusive for special groups. Augsten, T. (2010) and Jota et al. (2014) proposed that there are areas that are difficult and awkward to be reached with hands. For instance, movements like touching the floors or objects beneath a surface are much more easier to be accomplished by feet rather than by hands. Simeone et al. (2014) states that feet can also been considered as an additional input channel and a crucial aid when it comes to reaction process that includes complicated gestures and multiple body parts.

These different features have contributed to the development of a large range of foot-related devices and research works from different fields and communities. For example, from the accessibility aspect, the foot mice and joysticks are developed to adapt to specific groups of users. From the wearable technology aspect, more trainers and insoles have been equipped with sensors to record, trigger and transform the data of users. From the computer vision aspect, different ways of tracking the feet and the journey they have conquered have emerged in various sport apps and other physical installations.


1. Springer, J., & Siebes, C. (1996). Position controlled input device for handicapped: Experimental studies with a footmouse. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics

available at: PDF

2. Jota, R., Lopes, P., Wigdor, D., & Jorge, J. (2014, April). Let’s kick it: how to stop wasting the bottom third of your large screen display. 

available at: PDF1

3. Simeone, A. L., Velloso, E., Alexander, J., & Gellersen, H. (2014, March). Feet movement in desktop 3D interaction.

available at: PDF2


Case study I —“Reactable”

屏幕快照 2017-01-06 下午5.06.36.png

According to Figure 1.2, today I would like to introduce an iconic representation of this kind of tangible product, which is named Reactable, which was conceived and developed since 2003 by a research team at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Simply put,Reactable is a creative musical instrument, designed in art technology, therefore allowing musicians and others to experience and create sounds and unique music songs. This musical installation is set up on a physical translucent round table, with some pucks which can connect with and transfer data to the digital system. Once the pucks are placed on the table surface, they are lighted and start to interact with other neighboring pucks, and they are works according to the positions and distance.

In this process, users can combine different elements of sounds, and then recreate the unique music melody throughout using some digital tools like synthesizers, effects and so on. It has been confirmed that it is one of the mostly earliest tangible interface, which works in a combination of physical (input) and digital (output) forms. There is no doubt that its working principle inspired a lot of new tangible products or installations as a role model.

It is true that the tangible interfaces are developing in various forms on different levels, in order to fully understand users, to develop different kinds of interactions that depend on various scenarios. In my research topic, I focus on a specific direction, tangible gesture user interfaces, which is a combination of the tangible and the gesture interface.

In terms of the features of tangible user interface, firstly the physical representations are essential, embodying mechanisms physical object for users to control, such as the physical installations or product. In addition, different levels within the physical representations are systematically related to the state of digital system according to the programming and design.

This means that the physical representation is the input resource for the users to control, then this action is recognized and send an instruction to the digital system that was programmed or coded, and the digital system produces a coupled information, at the same time providing an output or feedback to users throughout physical or digital forms. For instance, one of the earliest examples of a tangible user interface is the world well known mouse. Drop and drag a mouse on a flat platform, and you will have a pointer moving on a screen, it is a straight way to interact with a digital system through the operation of physical object, and the movements allows the device to clearly recognize the users’ behaviors which are activated in the digital system, such as pointer moves down when you move the mouse backward. Thus, the mouse became a user-ˇfriendly master input device, with the coordinated cooperation of hand and eye.



 Reactable  available at: Reactable Video



3-Figure9-1.pngReporting from Alan, D., Janet, F., Gregory, A., & Russell, B. (2004), human computer interaction explores the design and use of computer technology, focused on the interfaces between users and computers. In the field of HCI, I found it is true that known researches not only attempt to explore and create new technologies to improve the interaction experience, but also observe regarding how humans interact with computers in effective, convenient and enjoyable ways.

According to the Alan Cooper, User interface refers to the medium or space where the interactions emerge between humans and machines. For the purpose of effectively and multiply interacting with users, as an essential part of HCI, user interface had been created in enormous categories. It contains direct manipulation interface, graphic user interfaces, web-ˇbased user interfaces, touch screens, command line interface, hardware interfaces, voice interfaces, gesture interfaces, tangible user interfaces and so on.

屏幕快照 2017-01-06 下午4.50.04.pngIn 1997, the MIT Media Laboratory firstly proposed the concept of Tangible User Interface(TUI). It differs to the Graphical User Interface(GUI), which is based on intangible pixels that takes little advantage of this capacity. The TUI, however, is based on embodying digital information in physical space or object. Generally describing, according to Figure 1.1 from Ishii,H.(2008), the tangible user interface is a medium, which allows the user to interact with a digital system through the manipulation of physical objects connected to the digital system and can be seen as representations of the system. Through two decades, Tangible User Interfaces have emerged as a new interface type that serves as a bridge between the digital and physical worlds.

According to users’ knowledge and skills of interaction with the real world and tangible objects, more potentials have occurred thanks to the fact that tangible user interfaces can enhance the way in which people interact with intangible, digital information.


1.Alan, D., Janet, F., Gregory, A., & Russell, B. (2004). Human-ˇcomputer interaction.

2. Cooper,A. (2007)  About Face 3

3. Ishii, H., & Ullmer, B. (1997, March) Tangible bits: towards seamless interfaces between people, bits and atoms




                                                                                                                                                            Figure 1.0


For basketball movement case study, I did a user flow analysis of the common basketball tactics movement, which aims to find a amusing routine of the movement for my concept. The reason why I explore this because these movements happen in a open space where surrounded people and the movements are completed by the body gesture.

During this offense process ( Figure 1.0 ), every player needs to pay more attention and have a clear position consciousness, with the players starting the movement in the half court space one by one, each new pass keys the next set of options that can efficiently score. In fact, this tactic rationally and perfectly uses the space throughout the ordered and continuous movement, therefore turning man to man offensive into temporary power play (regional 3 vs 1 or 3 vs 2).

As a result, the player can easily score and have the clear cognition of their position, therefore these kinds of movement are beneficial for any people to increase their spatial awareness, and it can be applied to the movement routine of my physical installation.


Reference :

“Sport Science: Lakers Triangle Offense” (2016)

video available at:  Lakers Triangle Offense

Interview of Topic related Specialist

2222At the first research stage,  I interviewed Peter Liu, who was a professional athlete, and graduated from the sport exercise and health science of the Loughborough University. The reason why I interviewed him is that he was a basketball player in Chinese University Basketball Association, and also have an excellent understanding on feet gesture and rehabilitation.

The key parts of the conversation are listed as below:

XIANG : Do you know spatial awareness and could you talk about your understanding of it ?

LIU: When you mention it, the first impression in my mind is my position, this might be kind of my instinctive reaction. I was a basketball player and everyone knows that we have training almost every day, the position is the most important thing for us, until now I can think of the shouts of my coach. It can be summarized that my conscious of movement or position change when I am playing on the court.

XIANG: Do you mind me asking about your injury history?

LIU: That is all right, it is old history and I do not mind talking about it. Almost every player had the injury history, especially the more competitive games like the basketball, jumping, football… To be honest, I suffered a serious, destroyed feet injury and it end my career, and that is why I came to UK for the MA study.

XIANG: Oh, does that mean you fail to the full recovery?

LIU: En, it was. I got the heel tendon rupture, but not completely. The first two months (after surgery) everything looks better, after half a year, I can walk and run a while but not a long time or intensive exercise, so… You know we are all ordinary people, and we are not like the famous players, who have the specific treatment all the time in order to recover to the competition level, this is enough for me now. I have to say the process is very suffering, boring and upset, just basic stretching or balancing behaviors, I do not know whether today’s exercise is useful or tomorrow I will get injured again because I am so hurry to recover. In fact, it influences the performance a lot, also influence the tactic conscious, even if I can recover performance like before, I cannot promise I will appear at the right position that the coach requires, maybe another long time training with my teammates.

The Influence of Spatial Awareness on the special user groups


Spatial awareness plays an important role in the daily life, especially on some particular groups such as the autistic people and the professional athletes. There is no doubt that it is useful and significant for people in any ages, because we are constantly using this cognitive ability. Spatial perception affects how we focus and understand our body’s relationship to the environment. For example, most of autistic children lack of this ability and some meaningful and purposeful programs are set up for them to discover this ability, therefore helping them cognize the surrounding world. By doing this, these children are able to perceive themselves and explore the new world the same way as the ordinary people.

%e5%b1%8f%e5%b9%95%e5%bf%ab%e7%85%a7-2016-11-29-%e4%b8%8a%e5%8d%882-29-25In the field, it is still an essential element for achieving the significant performance. It is true that the difference between victory and defeat is often very small, for the athletes or coaches, their priority is maximizing the talent that they have. There are certain characteristics that all successful athletes have. Firstly, the ability to evaluate information and make the right decisions quickly. Secondly, the excellent balance and control of their bodies. Last but not least, good timing, the ability to execute quickly, precise movements and excellent peripheral vision.

All of these processes are dependent on keen-ˇwitted visual view and spatial perception or proprioception. (Proprioception can be defined as the awareness of movement and body position combined with the psycho-motor control necessary to execute the brain’s instructions to the body.) It is sometimes also defined as the body’s joint positioning system.

“There’s only one moment in which you can arrive in time. If you’re not there, you’re either too early or too late.”

                                  Johan Cruyff

According to James R. Lackner and Paul DiZio (2005), excellent spatial awareness is dependent upon the ability of the brain to integrate information from all of the sensory systems including feedbacks from muscles and joints, vision, the tactile sense (touch/pressure), and the sense of balance (vestibular system).

There is no doubt that exceptional athlete performance is highly related to the world-class spatial awareness on the court. Johan Cruyff, who is a professional football player and most famous exponent of the football philosophy from Netherlands. He states that do not run too much, you have to be in the right place at the right moment, not too early, not too late. The smartest and most creative basketball or soccer players normally read the game and play ahead of their opponents. They possess excellent intelligence, which allows them to predict how and where a play will unfold. They stay one step ahead of their opponents, and then pass the ball to the most appropriate teammate to attack weaknesses and set up effective scoring opportunities or defensive plays.

References:  James R. Lackner and Paul DiZio (2005), VESTIBULAR, PROPRIOCEPTIVE, AND HAPTIC CONTRIBUTIONS TO SPATIAL ORIENTATION. available at :,%20proprioceptive,%20and%20haptic%20contributions%20to%20spatial%20orientation.pdf

The Influence of Spatial Awareness on human


spatial perception is also known as spatial awareness, which not only create representations about our space through feelings, but also create representations of our body, like its position or orientation. Space refers to the things surrounds us, such as objects, elements, people, and so on. Space also makes up part of our thinking, as it is where we join all of our experiences. In order to get proper information about the characteristics of the surrounding environment, we use two systems, the visualand haptic system.


For the visual system, the visual receptors are in the eye’s retina. These receptors are in charge of providing us with the information that they receive from the surface, or space. For the haptic one, it is located around the body of a person and provides information regarding the position of the many parts of the body, the movement of the limbs, and the physical surface found in what is observed, like softness and stiffness(Dolins, F. L., & Mitchell, R.W., 2010).

Excellent spatial awareness allows us to understand the environment and our relationship to it. Spatial perception also consists of understanding the relationship between two objects when there is a change in their positions in space. It helps us think in two and three dimensions, which allows us to  visualize objects from different angles and recognize them no matter what perspective that we see them from.


Dolins, F. L., & Mitchell, R.W.(2010), “Spatial cognition, spatial perception:”





    Understanding spatial-related terms


    The definition of spatial ability

    According to B. Bogue & R. Marra (2003),  Spatial ability is the capability to understand and remember the relations among objects, which includes the spatial perception, spatial visualization, mental rotation and transformation.

    The spatial visualization

    it is a complicated process, manipulating multi-steps information from the surrounding space or environment. Paraphrasing from Van Garderen, D. (2006) spatial visualization involves visual imagery which is the ability to mentally produce the appearance of an object, and spatial imagery which consists of mentally representing spatial relations among the parts or locations of the objects or movements.


    The spatial perception

    According to Dolins, F. L., & Mitchell, R.W.(2010), Spatial perception refers to the ability to perceive spatial relationships in respect to the orientation of one’s body ignoring distracting information. It consists of being able to perceive and visually understand outside spatial information such as features, properties, measurement, shapes, position and motion.

    This means that the two aspects above, exteroceptive processes and interoceptive processes build up the notion of spatial perception,or in other words, the ability to be conscious of the relationships with the environment and yourself.

    In these spatial terms, most of people know the spatial perception, also is named spatial awareness. It  plays an important role in the early education of the children, due to its influence on the spatial cognition. For my research topic on the spatial context, I specially focusing on how to raise people’s spatial awareness throughout the physical  interaction.

    1.Van Garderen, D. (2006). Spatial visualization, visual imagery, and mathematical problem solving of students with varying abilities.

    2. B. Bogue & R. Marra (2003).  Visual Spatial Skills

    3. Dolins, F. L., & Mitchell, R. W. (2010). Spatial cognition, spatial perception: mapping the self and space.   pp1,19