Dynamic Levitating Particles for Static Objects

Levitating particles can be used as actuated display elements for physical objects, turning static objects into interactive displays. This enables the otherwise static objects to present dynamic content. We have recently published a paper at ACM Pervasive Displays 2019 that explores this concept. We identified three main use cases for adding levitating particles to physical objects. These are annotation, user representation and animation.

Particles as Annotations

Levitating particles can be used as dynamic cursors for annotating an object: e.g., to highlight points of interest, to draw a viewer’s attention to an object's features, or to add context to non-visual information. The particles annotate the object without affecting its appearance and the object does not need to be modified to actuate the particles.


Particles as User Representations

Levitating particles can be used as the active user representation in an interactive system: e.g., particles directly controlled by the user or as a display element that gives feedback about the user’s actions. The particle turns the static object into an interactive display, by providing an effective way of representing the user and the effects of their interactions with the system.


Particles as Annotated Display Elements

Levitating particles can be used to animate static objects, by providing a dynamic visual element to the content. This could be used to enhance the appearance of an object to create a more engaging experience.


For more information about this work, check out our paper from ACM Pervasive Displays 2019:

Euan Freeman, Asier Marzo, Praxitelis B. Kourtelos, Julie R. Williamson, and Stephen Brewster. : Enhancing Physical Objects with Actuated Levitating Particles. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays – PerDis ’19, Article 2. ACM Press. 2019. Download PDF.