Proximity Toolkit
prototyping proxemic interactions in ubiquitous computing ecologies

People naturally understand and use proxemic relationships (e.g., their distance and orientation towards others) in everyday situations. However, only few ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) systems interpret such proxemic relationships to mediate interaction (proxemic interaction). A technical problem is that developers find it challenging and tedious to access proxemic information from sensors. Our Proximity Toolkit solves this problem. It simplifies the exploration of interaction techniques by supplying fine-grained proxemic information between people, portable devices, large interactive surfaces, and other non-digital objects in a room-sized environment. The toolkit offers three key features. 1) It facilitates rapid prototyping of proxemic-aware systems by supplying developers with the orientation, distance, motion, identity, and location information between entities. 2) It includes various tools, such as a visual monitoring tool, that allows developers to visually observe, record and explore proxemic relationships in 3D space. (3) Its flexible architecture separates sensing hardware from the proxemic data model derived from these sensors, which means that a variety of sensing technologies can be substituted or combined to derive proxemic information. We illustrate the versatility of the toolkit with proxemic-aware systems built by students.


Nicolai Marquardt (PhD)
Robert Diaz-Marino
Sebastian Boring
Saul Greenberg (Supervisor)

Download and documentation


Marquardt, N., Diaz-Marino, R., Boring, S. and Greenberg, S. (2011)
The Proximity Toolkit: Prototyping Proxemic Interactions in Ubiquitous Computing Ecologies. In ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology - UIST'2011. (Santa Barbara, CA, USA), ACM Press, 11 pages, October 16-18. Include video figure, duration 4:19. Early somewhat different version as: Report 2011-1001-13 + video (April, 2011).
PDF Paper Video File
Diaz-Marino, R. and Greenberg, S. (2010)
The Proximity Toolkit and ViconFace: The Video. In Video Showcase, DVD Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - ACM CHI'10. (Atlanta, Georgia), ACM Press, 5 pages, April 10-15. Video and paper, demonstrated live at CHI. Duration: 4:11. Finalist for the Media Showcase award for best research video. Previously as Report 2009-946-25 (pdf and wmv).
PDF Paper Video File