We are all pretty used to apps responding to the accelerometer, automatically changing from portrait to landscape for example.

Today Microsoft Research showed off a new technology where apps respond to the tilt angle of a screen (or presumably the hinge angle of a laptop).

The work appears to have been done primarily on the Surface Studio and they note that drawing boards offer a self-stable work surface that is continuously adjustable.

Each display posture—whether angled high, low, or somewhere in-between—is ideal for some activities, but not others. Because what is appropriate also depends on the application and task, Microsoft Research explored a range of app-specific transitions between reading vs. writing (annotation), public vs. personal, shared person-space vs. task-space, and other nuances of input and feedback, contingent on display angle.

In the Maps app, for example, tilting the screen would switch from an isometric to a top-down view, while in the drawing app it would switch from a pen-optimised to mouse-optimised work space.

Continuous responses provide interactive transitions tailored to each use-case.

In the video, Microsoft shows how a variety of knowledge work scenarios can use sensed display adjustments to drive context-appropriate transitions, as well as technical software details of how to best realize these concepts.

See the video below:

YouTube player

Microsoft wards that despite the coolness of the technology, a preliminary user study suggests that implementations must balance the effort required to adjust tilt, versus the potential benefits of a sensed transition.

Read more about the project at Microsoft Research here.