Interactive displays

Collective Bodies, Creative Spaces

A man and a woman making actions in a front of a screen that shows stick figures mimicking their movements.

Project overview

SocialNUI has installed two large-screen displays with Kinect sensors around the Engineering precinct at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus.

The interactive displays allowed SocialNUI researchers to explore a variety of research questions, including the ways in which the Microsoft Kinect and other sensor technology can be used in a public space, and how best to design for body and gestural interaction. The displays provided SocialNUI researchers with a platform for demonstrating their work in these areas, as well as for collecting data on how people use these types of displays in a real-world situation.

Researchers built a series of prototypes, experiments, and applications to achieve these goals. One such application is Masquerade, an interactive networked game. In this game, the research team explored how people socialise in fun and playful ways in public spaces. The team created a game that challenges participants to mirror body poses of other people using the campus displays, and to record poses that others must mirror in turn. The team also created SocialNUIz, a quiz game for one or more players which was deployed to test the usability of the Pathsync interaction technique developed by SocialNUI researchers.

The technology developed for the displays contributed to a variety of research projects at the SocialNUI Research Centre, as well as providing a way for us to develop interesting games and technologies that enhance the campus experience for students, staff, and visitors.

Project team

  • John Downs, Research Fellow, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, The University of Melbourne
  • Travis Cox, Researcher, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, The University of Melbourne
  • Niels Wouters, PhD Exchange Student, Department of Architecture, University of Leuven
  • Marcus Carter, Research Fellow, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, The University of Melbourne
  • Zaher Joukhadar, Lead Software Engineer, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, University of Melbourne
  • Andrew Vande Moere, Associate Professor Design & Technology, Department of Architecture, University of Leuven


Cox, T., Carter, M., & Velloso, E. (in press) Public DisPLAY: Social Games on Interactive Public Screens. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Australian Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction (OzCHI 2016), November 2016, Launceston, Australia. [PDF]

Carter, M., Velloso, E., Downs, J., Sellen, A., O’Hara, K., & Vetere F. (2016) PathSync: Multi-User Gestural Interaction with Touchless Rhythmic Path Mimicry. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016), New York: ACM Press, pp. 3415–3427 [DOI] [PDF]

Wouters, N., Downs, J., Carter, M., & Vande Moere, A. (2015) Masquerade: Social Influence of Full-Body Game Interaction on Public Displays In Proceedings of DiGRAA 2015: Inclusivity in Australian Games and Game Studies. Sydney, Australia [PDF]