RFIBricks : interactive building blocks based on RFID

M.-J. Hsieh, R.-H. Liang, D.-Y. Huang, J.-Y. Ke, B.-Y. Chen

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

26 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


We present RFIBricks, an interactive building block system based on ultrahigh frequency radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensing. The system enables geometry resolution based on a simple yet highly generalizable mechanism: an RFID contact switch, which is made by cutting each RFID tag into two parts, namely antenna and chip. A magnetic connector is then coupled with each part. When the antenna and chip connect, an interaction event with an ID is transmitted to the reader. On the basis of our design of RFID contact switch patterns, we present a system of interactive physical building blocks that resolves the stacking order and orienta- tion when one block is stacked upon another, determines a three-dimensional (3D) geometry built on a two-dimensional base plate, and detects user inputs by incorporating elec- tromechanical sensors. Because it is calibration-free and does not require batteries in each block, it facilitates straightfor- ward maintenance when deployed at scale. Compared with other approaches, this RFID-based system resolves several critical challenges in human-computer interaction, such as 1) determining the identity and the built 3D geometry of pas- sive building blocks, 2) enabling stackable token+constraint interaction on a tabletop, and 3) tracking in-hand assembly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '18 Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5620-6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018 - Montreal, Canada, Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018
Conference number: 36


Conference2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018
Abbreviated titleCHI 2018
Internet address


  • Building blocks
  • Constructive assembly
  • RFID
  • Tangible user interface


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