Exploring physical information cloth on a multitouch table
We expand multitouch tabletop information exploration by placing 2D information on a physically-based cloth in a shallow 3D viewing environment. Instead of offering 2D information on a rigid window or screen, we place our information on a soft flexible cloth that can be draped, pulled, stretched, and folded with multiple fingers and hands, supporting any number of information views. Combining our multitouch flexible information cloth with simple manipulable objects provides a physically-based information viewing environment that offers similar advantages to complex detail-in-context viewing. Previous detail-in-context views can be re-created by draping cloth over virtual objects in this physics simulation, thereby approximating many of the existing techniques by providing zoomed-in information in the context of zoomed-out information. These detail-in-context views are approximated because, rather than use distortion, the draped cloth naturally drapes and folds showing magnified regions within a physically understandable context. In addition, the information cloth remains flexibly responsive, allowing one to tweak, unfold, and smooth out regions as desired.