The Air-Teapot

The Air-Teapot challenges our reliance on sight to understand the world we live in and rebels against the visual dominance of computer interfaces. By tapping with the teaspoon, we can feel and hear a teapot in the space in front of us, but there is nothing to be seen but a teapot stand. This is a teapot with character that convinces you there's more to the world than meets the eye.

Where better to foment a revolution in a teapot than Boston!

Technical Overview
The Air-Teapot is rendered interactively using computer-generated touch and sound. The teapot is the openGL glutSolidTeapot() graphics primitive modeled on the original Utah teapot. The 3D touch interface is rendered using OpenHaptics and the SensAble Omni force-feedback device. The forces from taps and scrapes on the surface are rendered as sounds in real time using a physical-acoustic model from the Synthesis Toolkit. A narrative composed from a recording of a tea party emanates from the teapot stand where the teapot seems to sit. The work runs on a Windows multimedia PC with an Omni and a speaker attached. There is no screen.

Stephen Barrass
University of Canberra
stephen.barrass (at)

Chris Gunn
Matt Adcock