The Interactive Sphere for Three-Dimensional Control in Games and Virtual Reality




Interaction device, controller device, gestural interaction, haptic feedback, VR, organizational semiotics


In electronic games, the controller is the mean through which the player can interact with the game’s virtual world, being an essential factor in all of the user experience. New controllers may, therefore, completely modify the player experience, also serving as a tool to investigate new ways of interacting with interactive systems of various purposes. In this context, this paper presents the Interactive Sphere, a spherical device to be employed specially with games and virtual reality environments. This novel device combines the pressing of certain regions of the sphere with gestural interaction, in addition to providing haptic, auditive and visual feedback. The paper describes all of the rationale behind the decisions taken during the design and development process of the device, in addition to the techniques employed for implementing the detection of the acts of pressing and moving the Interactive Sphere. In this project, accessible, low-cost materials and techniques were prioritized, which could be more easily adapted to other contexts. We envision that the lessons learned and the guidelines derived from its design and development process may assist in the idealization and construction of new ways of interacting, by providing a set of methods, techniques and technologies that were employed in the development of a new physical artifact of interaction presented in this work.


Download data is not yet available.


Almeida, L. D. A., de Almeida Neris, V. P., Miranda, L. C., Hayashi, E. C. S., and Baranauskas, M. C. C. (2009). Designing inclusive social networks: A participatory approach. In Online Communities and Social Computing, pages 653–662. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Angelini, L., Lalanne, D., Hoven, E., Khaled, O., and Mugellini, E. (2015). Move, hold and touch: A framework for tangible gesture interactive systems. Machines, 3(3):173–207.

Baranauskas, M. C. C., Liu, K., and Chong, S. (2003). Website interfaces as representamina of organizational behaviour. In Dynamics and Change in Organizations, pages 63–87.

Brizolara, P. L. S., Miranda, L. C., and de Menezes, B. C. (2022). Esfera Interativa: Design de Um Novo Controle para Jogos Digitais. In Anais Estendidos do Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital (SBGames), pages 168–177. SBC.

Brown, M., Kehoe, A., Kirakowski, J., and Pitt, I. (2015). Beyond the Gamepad: HCI and Game Controller Design and Evaluation. In Game User Experience Evaluation, Human–Computer Interaction Series.

Carroll, J. M. (2003). Making Use: Scenario-Based Design of Human-Computer Interactions. MIT Press.

Correia, A. C. C., Miranda, L. C., and Hornung, H. (2013). Gesture-based interaction in domotic environments: State of the art and HCI framework inspired by the diversity. In Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013, pages 300–317. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Dobbelstein, D., Hock, P., and Rukzio, E. (2015). Belt: An unobtrusive touch input device for head-worn displays. In Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, volume 2015-April, pages 2135–2138.

Ey, M., Pietruch, J., and Schwartz, D. I. (2010). ”Oh-No! Banjo”: A case study in alternative game controllers. In Proceedings of the International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology, Futureplay ’10, pages 215–218, New York, NY, USA. Association for Computing Machinery.

Foottit, J., Brown, D., Marks, S., and Connor, A. M. (2014). An Intuitive Tangible Game Controller. In Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Interactive Entertainment, IE2014, pages 1–7, New York, NY, USA. Association for Computing Machinery.

Grosse-Puppendahl, T., Holz, C., Cohn, G., Wimmer, R., Bechtold, O., Hodges, S., Reynolds, M. S., and Smith, J. R. (2017). Finding Common Ground: A Survey of Capacitive Sensing in Human-Computer Interaction. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI ’17, pages 3293–3315, New York, NY, USA. Association for Computing Machinery.

Heberlein, M., Hayashi, T., Nashold, S., and Teeravarunyou, S. (2003). CHI-ball, an interactive device assisting martial arts education for children. In Proc. of CHI ’03.

Hufnal, D., Osborne, E., Johnson, T., and Yildirim, C. (2019). The Impact of Controller Type on Video Game User Experience in Virtual Reality. In GEM ’19, pages 1–9.

Hunt, A. and Thomas, D. (2019). The Pragmatic Programmer: Your Journey to Mastery, 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition. Addison-Wesley Professional.

Karime, A., Eid, M., Gueaieb, W., and El Saddik, A. (2012). Determining wrist reference kinematics using a sensory-mounted stress ball. In IEEE ROSE 2012, pages 109–114.

Khalfin, I. (2002). Method and apparatus for electromagnetic position and orientation tracking with distortion compensation employing modulated signal. United States Patent US6624626B2. filed 4 June 2002, and issued 23 September 2003.

Liu, K. (2000). Semiotics in Information Systems Engineering. Cambridge Press.

Llagostera, E. G. (2019). Critical Controllers: How Alternative Game Controllers Foster Reflective Game Design. In Companion Publication of DIS ’19, DIS ’19 Companion, pages 85–88.

Margolis, M. (2011). Arduino Cookbook: Recipes to Begin, Expand, and Enhance Your Projects. ”O’Reilly Media, Inc.”.

Miranda, L. C., Hayashi, E. C. S., and Baranauskas, M. C. C. (2009). Identifying interaction barriers in the use of remote controls. In CLIHC ’09, CLIHC ’09, pages 97–104.

Miranda, L. C., Hornung, H., and Baranauskas, C. (2011). Prospecting a New Physical Artifact of Interaction for iDTV: Results of Participatory Practices. In DUXU 2011, Lecture Notes in Computer Science.

Miranda, L. C., Hornung, H., and Baranauskas, M. (2010). Adjustable interactive rings for iDTV. IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics, 56(3):1988–1996.

Miranda, L. C., Hornung, H., Pereira, R., and Baranauskas, M. C. C. (2013). Exploring Adjustable Interactive Rings in Game Playing: Preliminary Results. In DUXU’13.

Miranda, L. C., Hornung, H., Solarte, D., Romani, R., Weinfurter, M., Neris, V., and Baranauskas, M. C. (2007). Laptops educacionais de baixo custo: Prospectos e desafios. In XVIII Simpósio Brasileiro de Informática Na Educação (SBIE), pages 358–367.

Miranda, L. C., Piccolo, L., and Baranauskas, C. (2008). Artefatos físicos de interação com a TVDI: Desafios e diretrizes para o cenário brasileiro. In IHC ’08, IHC ’08, pages 60–69.

Muller, M., Haslwanter, J., and Dayton, T. (1997). Chp. 11 - Participatory Practices in the Software Lifecycle. In Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction, pages 255–297.

Murphy, S. C. (2014). Controllers. In Wolf, M. J. P. and Perron, B., editors, The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies, pages 19–24. Routledge, New York.

Nagels, S., Ramakers, R., Luyten, K., and Deferme, W. (2018). Silicone devices: A scalable DIY approach for fabricating self-contained multi-layered soft circuits using microfluidics. In Proc. of CHI ’18, CHI ’18, pages 1–13.

Nassar, J., Cordero, M., Kutbee, A., and … Hussain, M. (2016). Paper Skin Multisensory Platform for Simultaneous Environmental Monitoring. Adv. Mater. Technol., 1.

North, D. (2006). Introducing BDD. [link] .

O’Sullivan, D. and Igoe, T. (2004). Chapter 8: Physical Interaction Design, or Techniques for Polite Conversation. In Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers, pages 205–216. Course Technology Press, Boston, MA, USA.

Pereira, R., Buchdid, S., and Baranauskas, C. (2013). Values and Cultural Aspects in Design: Artifacts for Making Them Explicit in Design Activities. In ICEIS’12, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing.

Perelman, G., Serrano, M., Raynal, M., and … Dubois, E. (2015). The roly-poly mouse: Designing a rolling input device unifying 2d and 3D interaction. In CHI ’15.

Pourjafarian, N., Withana, A., Paradiso, J. A., and Steimle, J. (2019). Multi-Touch Kit: A Do-It-Yourself Technique for Capacitive Multi-Touch Sensing Using a Commodity Microcontroller. In Proc. of UIST’19, UIST ’19, pages 1071–1083.

Rosenberg, I. D., Grau, A., Hendee, C., Awad, N., and Perlin, K. (2009). IMPAD: An inexpensive multi-touchpressure acquisition device. In CHI ’09 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA ’09, pages 3217–3222, New York, NY, USA. Association for Computing Machinery.

Roudaut, A., Martinez, D., Chohan, A., Otrocol, V.-S., Cobbe-Warburton, R., Steele, M., and Patrichi, I.-M. (2014). Rubikon: A highly reconfigurable device for advanced interaction. In Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, pages 1327–1332.

Rüthschilling, A. A., Cunha, J., and Broega, A. C. (2008). The draping technique as a creative phase in the fashion design methodology. Association of Universities for Textiles (AUTEX).

Santana, V. F., Solarte, D. S. M., Neris, V. P. A., Miranda, L. C., and Baranauskas, M. C. C. (2009). Redes sociais online: Desafios e possibilidades para o contexto brasileiro. In XXXVI Seminário Integrado de Software e Hardware (SEMISH) / XXIX Congresso da Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (CSBC), pages 339–353, Bento Gonçalves, RS. SBC.

Sarinho, V. T. (2017). Cornestick: Um Joystick de Sopro para Jogos Digitais. In XVI SBGames, pages 586–589.

Shahmiri, F., Chen, C., Waghmare, A., Zhang, D., Mittal, S., Zhang, S., Wang, Y.-C., Wang, Z., Starner, T., and Abowd, G. (2019). Serpentine: A reversibly deformable cord sensor for human input. In Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings.

Solis, C. and Wang, X. (2011). A Study of the Characteristics of Behaviour Driven Development. In 2011 37th EUROMICRO Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications, pages 383–387.

Souza, P. d. M. (2006). A modelagem tridimensional como implemento do processo de desenvolvimento do produto de moda. Master’s thesis, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Faculdade de Arquitetura, Artes e Comunicação.

Stamper, R. K. (2001). Organisational Semiotics: Informatics without the Computer? Information, Organisation and Technology, pages 115–171.

Tomasello, M. (2008). Origins of Human Communication. The MIT Press.

van den Hoven, E. and Mazalek, A. (2011). Grasping gestures: Gesturing with physical artifacts. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 25(3):255–271.

Varesano, F. and Vernero, F. (2012). Introducing PALLA, a novel input device for leisure activities: A case study on a tangible video game for seniors. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, pages 35–44.

Weinberg, G., Orth, M., and Russo, P. (2000). The embroidered musical ball: A squeezable instrument for expressive performance. In Proc. of CHI EA ’00, CHI EA ’00, pages 283–284.




How to Cite

BRIZOLARA, P. L. S.; MIRANDA, L. C. de; VASILJEVIC, G. A. M.; MENEZES, B. C. de. The Interactive Sphere for Three-Dimensional Control in Games and Virtual Reality. Journal on Interactive Systems, Porto Alegre, RS, v. 14, n. 1, p. 448–469, 2023. DOI: 10.5753/jis.2023.3332. Disponível em: Acesso em: 5 dec. 2023.



Regular Paper