Ansible brings select-to-edit functionality to physical widgets. When programming sets of physical widgets, it can be bothersome for a programmer to remember the name of the software object that corresponds to a specific widget. Click-to-edit functionality in GUI programming provides a physical action--moving the mouse to a widget and clicking a button on the mouse--to select a virtual widget. In a similar vein, when programming physical widgets, it is natural to point at a widget and think, "I want to program that one." Ansible allows physical user interface programmers to "click" on a physical widget by making a physical action: shining a light, waving a magnet, or pressing a button on the widget. This brings up the widget's code for editing on a laptop or workstation. The Ansible system is intended to help physical user interface programmers prototype distributed systems built from physical widgets. We conducted a user study with twelve programmers using Ansible; the study showed that shining a light eliminates the need for a programmer to remember the mapping between physical widgets and their names. We also built three example systems to illustrate some of the kinds of systems that can be implemented using Ansible.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Computer Science
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Crowder, Benjamin M., "Ansible: Select-to-Edit for Physical Widgets" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 9266.
physical user interfaces, programming support, development environments