Tiffany Tseng, Coram Bryant, and Paulo Blikstein. 2010. Mechanix: an interactive display for exploring engineering design through a tangible interface. In Proceedings of the fifth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (TEI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 265-266.
Mechanix is a low-cost, interactive system for children to design and explore mechanical systems using computer-vision tracked, magnetic components. It employs a semi-transparent magnetic surface that supports the placement and tracking of magnetic simple machine pieces and acts as a projection screen. A back-mounted webcam captures the position of the pieces using visual tags, while a projector depicts virtual components in user-generated challenges and solutions. Designed as a museum exhibit and grounded in constructionist learning theory, Mechanix combines a virtual library of user-generated content with a tangible interface to enable asynchronous and synchronous interactions.