Perceptions of Human Shadow Manipulation as an Ambient Display

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the concept of using human shadows as an ambient information display. As shadows are an integral part of the physical world, consisting of non-illuminated and dynamic shapes, they provide a potential basis for the design of unobtrusive ambient displays. We created a set of artificial human shadows to explore the concept, and conducted a user study (n = 12) to chart perceptions on the idea. As salient findings, the concept was perceived as interesting, and provoked strong reactions during the user study, e.g. surprise, laughter, and, at times, the feeling of spookiness. Synchronisation of movements between the manipulated shadows and the physical world and the ability to visually recognize the human shape, even when distortions are applied, are essential for the user experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerDis '20
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 9TH ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays
EditorsSarah Clinch, Jan Gugenheimer, Enrico Rukzio
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-7986-1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2020
MoEC publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventPerDis '20: The 9th ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jun 20205 Oct 2020


ConferencePerDis '20
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • user studies
  • user experience
  • pervasive displays
  • unobtrusive design
  • shadows
  • information visualization
  • design
  • ambient displays

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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