Brygg's Homepage

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January 2005: My primary homepage is now located at LSU.

January 2004: My Media Lab account recently transitioned to alumni status, resulting in a major decrease in disk quota. Some of the links on this page are still under repair, and are currently offline.

Greetings!  I've recently completed my Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab, where I studied and developed tangible interfaces in the Tangible Media Group with Prof. Hiroshi Ishii.

I have begun a postdoc with the GridLab project in the visualization department at ZIB (in Berlin). Some recent work and contact information are online.

I taught a five-week course on tangible interfaces at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the School of Design last November. You can see the course homepage here.

Feel free to jump forward to my  [ Projects / Papers / Patents / Courses / Travel ]

Page last updated April 2003

I'm co-editing a special issue of the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing journal on tangible interfaces with Lars Erik Holmquist and Albrecht Schmidt. The call for papers is online.

Some of my recent user interface and visualization work at ZIB and AEI has recently appeared in ZIB's 2002 annual report.

I successfully defended my dissertation, "Tangible Interfaces for Manipulating Aggregates of Digital Information," on August 1. The dissertation is now online.

My resume, CV and a visual summary of my research at MIT.

A recent interview briefly discussing my research appeared in MIT's openDOOR publication.

My first book chapter, Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces (co-authored with my advisor, Prof. Hiroshi Ishii), was recently published in the book Human-Computer Interaction in the New Millennium (Acrobat; Addison Wesley, Amazon)

Some favorite reading snippets

Just for fun, a few photographs and an old Halloween costume.

Amusing namesake pages (with which I have no connection): (Swedish), (Norwegian), (German)

I attended high school at the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM).

[ PROJECTS / Papers / Patents / Courses / Travel ]


My research involves the design and study of what we call "tangible user interfaces" ("tangible interfaces" or TUIs for short). These are systems of physical objects, surfaces, and spaces used as representations and controls for computationally mediated associations.

A visual summary of my research at MIT.

My final thesis project, relating to tangible interfaces for physically expressing queries to relational databases and other abstract information systems, is now in motion. A few early fragments of description are online here; more details soon...

An itinerant research project has been Strata.

My first project as a Ph.D. student was mediaBlocks.

My first major project at the Media Lab was the metaDESK.

[ Projects / PAPERS & Patents / Courses / Travel ]


  • Tangible Query Interfaces: Physically Constrained Tokens for Manipulating Database Queries (September 2003)
  • Full paper, to be presented at INTERACT'03 in Zurich. Co-authors: Hiroshi Ishii and Rob Jacob.

  • Tangible Interfaces for Manipulating Aggregates of Digital Information (August 2002)
  • Ph.D. dissertation. Readers: Profs. Hiroshi Ishii, John Maeda, and Rob Jacob. (dissertation homepage)

  • Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces (August 2001)
  • A substantial reworking of the IBM Systems Journal paper, published as a book chapter in Human-Computer Interaction in the New Millennium
    (Acrobat; Addison Wesley, Amazon)

  • Strata/ICC: Physical Models as Computational Interfaces (April 2001)
  • Short paper presented at CHI'01 in Seattle. Co-authors: Elizabeth Kim, Axel Kilian, Steve Gray, and Hiroshi Ishii.
    (Acrobat, project page)

  • DataTiles: A Modular Platform for Mixed Physical and Graphical Interactions (April 2001)
  • Full paper presented at CHI'01 in Seattle. Jun Rekimoto is first author; Haruo Oba is a fellow co-author. Work done at Sony CSL. (Acrobat)

  • Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces (November 2000)
  • IBM Systems Journal paper (Acrobat, HTML)
    (note that some of the core figures and table in the HTML version are very difficult to read; please refer to the Acrobat version)

  • mediaBlocks: Tangible Interfaces for Online Media (May 1999)
  • Published video and extended abstract, presented at CHI'99 in Pittsburgh. (Acrobat, projects page)
    Video: part 1 (~10 MB) / part 2 (~12 MB)

  • Emancipated Pixels: Real-World Graphics in the Luminous Room (August 1999)
  • Full paper presented at SIGGRAPH'99 in LA. John Underkoffler is first-author. (Acrobat)

  • mediaBlocks: Physical Containers, Transports, and Controls for Online Media (July 1998)
  • Full paper presented at SIGGRAPH'98 in Orlando. (Acrobat)

  • The metaDESK: Models and Prototypes for Tangible User Interfaces (October 1997)
  • Full paper presented at UIST'97 in Banff. (Acrobat)

    Video: medium res (~38 MB) / low res (~12 MB)

  • 3wish: Distributed [incr Tcl] Extensions for Physical-World Interfaces (July 1997)
  • Poster and extended abstract presented at Tcl/Tk'97. (Acrobat of poster, originally 3'x4')

  • Models and Mechanisms for Tangible User Interfaces (May 1997)
  • MIT Media Lab Master's thesis. (Acrobat).

  • Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits, and Atoms (March 1997)
  • Full paper at CHI'97 in Atlanta, co-authored with Hiroshi Ishii. (Acrobat, HTML)

  • Physicality, Virtuality, and the Switch that Lights (March 1996)
  • Short paper for Mitch Resnick and Sherry Turkle's Thinking about Things. (HTML)

  • Towards "Virtual Realty": Explorations in Spatializing Web Content (December 1995)
  • CHI'95 short paper submission (unaccepted). Based on work with 3D spatializations of web content following an urban metaphor, begun as a course project for the Fall 1995 Software Design Studio.   (Postscript, HTML)

  • Multiscale Spatial Architectures for Complex Information Spaces (May 1994)
  • UIUC course paper for the Spring 1994 "Distributed Information Systems" seminar led by Bruce Schatz. (Postscript, HTML)

  • End-User Customization Mechanisms for Distributed Information Resources (March 1993)
  • IEEE Student Papers regional award winning paper on the "Personal Gopher" (PGopher) personal information space project. Begun in the Fall 1992 UIUC "Telecommunications" class led by Greg Newby. (Postscript, HTML)


  • US06164541: Methods and systems for providing human/computer interfaces
    (filed October 1997, first issued June 2000; work at Interval Research)

  • US6263507: Browser for use in navigating a body of information, with particular application to browsing information represented by audiovisual data
    (filed December 1996, issued July 2001; work at Interval Research)

  • US06259441: Display pause with elastic playback
    (filed December 1996, first issued October 1998; work at Interval Research)

    (all are co-authored)

    [ Projects / Papers / Patents / COURSES / Travel ]


    Fall 2001 - Summer 2002
    Dissertation; working to pull it all together...

    Fall 2000 - Spring 2001
    Ph.D. thesis proposal

    Spring 2000
    Silicon Biology (Jacobson/Manalis), listener

    Japanese, levels 1 and 2 (Boston Language Institute)

    Fall 1999
    Technology Strategy (Henderson)

    Tangible Interfaces (Teaching Assistant) (Media Lab domain-limited)

    Spring 1999
    Issues in Tangible Interface Design (Teaching Assistant) (Media Lab domain-limited)
    General Exams

    Fall 1998
    Fabrication workshop / How to make (almost) anything (Gershenfeld/Jacobson/Paradiso) (Media Lab domain-limited)
    Cognitive Architectures (Richards)

    Tangible Interfaces (Teaching Assistant) (Media Lab domain-limited)
    Linguistic Structure (Chomsky), listener

    Spring 1998

    Interdesign Workshop (Ishii/Maeda) (Media Lab domain-limited)
    Physics of Information Technology (Gershenfeld/Jacobson) (Media Lab domain-limited)
    Physics Gems (Jacobson), listener

    Fall 1997

    Doctoral Proseminar (Pentland)
    Tangible Interfaces (Teaching Assistant)
    Interaction Techniques for Interactive Virtual Environments (Blumberg/Bobick)

    Spring 1997
    MS Thesis

    Fall 1996

    Computers and Organisms (Hammonds/Keller/Mindell)
    Tangible Interfaces (Teaching Assistant)
    Thesis prep
    Tai Chi (intramural)

    Spring 1996
    Collaboration between People, Computers, and Things / (Ishii / Lieberman)
    Modeling Intelligent Autonomous Agents (Maes) [My Project Page]
    Thinking About Things (Resnick / Turkle), listener [My Project Page]
    Multimedia Production Design Seminar (Davenport / MacNeil)

    Fall 1995
    Software Design Studio (Kapor / Mitchell) [My project page]
    Special Topics in Multimedia Production (Davenport / MacNeil / Briggs)
    Urban Design and Development (Frenchman), listener

    [ Projects / Papers / Patents / Courses / TRAVEL ]


    MIT Calendar


    May 17-31 -- Interviews in Germany and Switzerland

    August 1 -- Thesis defense, 2pm, MIT Media Lab, Bartos theater

    Early September -- Southeastern US

    October -- Germany

    November -- Hong Kong

    December, ... -- Germany

    Thanks for visiting!

    Brygg /