MP1: AccStick

Seokbin Kang, PhD student, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park
Jonggi Hong, PhD student, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park
Link to Github

We present a tangible computing interface which assists desktop computing with accessibility functions. In order to ease the use of key functions which usually are hidden and hard to find, we introduce AccStick which can be picked and plugged to execute a specific function. Each stick of AccStick is mapped to an accessibility function in general computer including screen magnifier, screen resolution change, display brightness adjustment, cursor size change, and volume control. A user can also bend sticks so that each function is executed with the user's preference. Touch potentiometer and a LED strip on the dockign station provide tactile and intuitive volume control interface.

Presentation Slide

Materials and Parts

Part's Role
Total Cost
Arduino Mega
Getting analog signal from sensors, signal processing
Flex sensor
Sensing the bending of the sticks
Touch potentiometer
Sensing the touch gesture to control the sound volume of the computer
Wood support
The support to have sockets to plug the sticks in
Wires, registers,
and other basic materials
Connecting parts, maintaining the shape of the sticks

Connecting the parts.
LED Strip
Visual feedback of volume control





  • The key of AddStick is letting users pick a stick and plug-in easily. However, we couldn't fully implement physical plug-in/out interface due to limited socket and connectors .
  • We put together a flex sensor,a wire and duct tape to maintain the bending of a stick. Still the restoring force of a flex sensor hampers fixing the stick.
  • The implementation of applications is limited to Windows APIs.

Future Work Ideas

  • We believe the basic idea behind AccStick is promising and we further explore physical interfaces to provide accessibility computing functionality with ease

Thoughts about Project

  • We truly enjoyed the project overall. During the implementation step, we felt that materials, sensors, and functionality of each component are not exactly what we expect to be. That is, we should iterate design/prototyping/evaluation to reach the exact goal of a design.
  • We thought it would be better to have more time/resources to complete this project because a lot of technical and usability issues still remain unresolved.

Links to Inspirations, Code Libraries and Code Samples