SurfaceConstellations: A Modular Hardware Platform for Ad-Hoc Reconfigurable Cross-Device Workspaces

in 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '18), Conference paper (text), Montreal, QC, Canada


We contribute SurfaceConstellations, a modular hardware platform for linking multiple mobile devices to easily cre-ate novel cross-device workspace environments. Our plat-form combines the advantages of multi-monitor workspac-es and multi-surface environments with the flexibility and extensibility of more recent cross-device setups. The Sur-faceConstellations platform includes a comprehensive library of 3D-printed link modules to connect and arrange tablets into new workspaces, several strategies for design-ing setups, and a visual configuration tool for automatical-ly generating link modules. We contribute a detailed de-sign space of cross-device workspaces, a technique for capacitive links between tablets for automatic recognition of connected devices, designs of flexible joint connections, detailed explanations of the physical design of 3D printed brackets and support structures, and the design of a web-based tool for creating new SurfaceConstellation setups.