A laser pointer for creating invisible and visible attention grabbing cues in real world environments


Peripheral Interaction research (e..g. http://www.peripheralinteraction.com) points to the possibility of making computer systems interact with users through “implicit output”, stimuli which the user doesn’t pay conscious attention to (e.g movements in the periphery of the visual field of view) but anyway draws the users attention in a certain direction. The potential gain would be that computer systems could inform and help the user without interrupting or distracting her/him from the task currently in focus.


The goal of this thesis project is to re-engineer a motor-controlled laser pointer previously developed by Shahram Jalaliniya and to investigate the possibility of using it for peripheral stimuli generation. The target environment would be a computer game of your choice (e.g. Tetris or Pong) projected onto a white wall ontop of which the laser pointer presents its visual stimuli. Three gaming conditions are to be compared in the final evaluation of the project: the performance of users playing the 1) non-augmented game; the game augmented with explicit (noticeable) laser cues; the game augmented with implicit/peripheral (unnoticeable) laser cues.


The student(s) will develop a prototype laser pointer control system inspired by a previous wearable Aurduino-based design and connect it to a computer and projector setup. The main challenge is predicted to be development and calibration of the motor-controlled laser device plus the controlled production of sub-treshold stimuli using it.

Related work

  • Jalaliniya, S., Pederson, T., and Houben, S. (2014) Wearable laser pointer versus head-mounted display for tele-guidance applications? In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers: Adjunct Program (ISWC ’14 Adjunct). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 193-200. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2641248.2641354
  • Hausen, D. (2014) Peripheral Interaction – Exploring the Design Space. PhD thesis, University of Munich, Germany. <link to downloadable pdf>
  • Bakker, S. (2013) Design for Peripheral Interaction. PhD thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. <link to downloadable pdf>

Technology involved

The template solution is based on two galvanometers fitted with mirrors controlled by an Arduino board plus the laser pointer. The developed solution will be based on this setup but can be made bigger due to the fact that it is intended for stationary use.


Thomas Pederson, Dan Witzner Hansen