What is TaPS?

The key idea behind TaPS is to offer private areas in multi-user tabletop systems. Existing approaches usually involve wearable devices such as shutter glasses or head-mounted displays that are cumbersome to wear. With TaPS we present lightweight transparent widgets that shield the content beneath them from other users, creating Tangible Private Spaces and furthermore even allow the user to use the widgets surface as an input device for sensitive data like e.g. PIN-codes.

TaPS Widget seen from different directions and used as input device
Widget used as input device

How does TaPS work?

TaPS uses low-cost widgets that consist of a scattering foil on top of an acrylic spacer. The foil scatters the light coming from beneath it depending on the viewing angle and blurs the light for viewers in certain angles. To see the information beneath the widget clearly, the user has to be in a specific area of the tabletop system. The widgets position is being tracked in order to display the sensitive content at the right coordinates.

Angle from witch the content underneath can be seen

If we got you interested in our work feel free to take a look at the documents listed below.

The Team

TaPS is a research project by Max Möllers, Ray Bohnenberger, Stephan Deininghaus, Patrick Zimmer, Karin Herrman and Jan Borchers from the Media Computing Group.



  • Max Möllers, Patrick Zimmer and Jan Borchers. TaPS Widgets: Interacting with Tangible Private Spaces. In Proceedings of ITS2011,2011.
    MoviePDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Max Möllers, Ray Bohnenberger, Stephan Deininghaus, Patrick Zimmer, Karin Herrmann and Jan Borchers. TaPS Widgets: tangible control over private spaces on interactive tabletops.  In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems,  In CHI EA '11, pages 773–780, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2011.
    HomepagePDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
FileDescriptionFile sizeDownloadsLast modified
Download this file (TaPS.mov)TaPS.mov 28894 kB16722012-04-26 00:36

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.