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 IU Trident Indiana University

Professor Block’s Reaching Study

Project Lead: David Reagan and Chris Eller, Advanced Visualization Lab, Research Technologies, Indiana University - Research made possible by IQ-Table and IQ-Station

Block's Reaching Rig

Figure 1. Partial view of the experimental reaching rig. The rig is constructed using an 80/20 aluminum structure, video projection, flexible projection screen surfaces, and multi-touch overlays.

The Advanced Visualization Lab collaborated with IU Department of Kinesiology Assistant Professor Hannah J. Block to update a reaching study with new hardware and software.

Professor Block is now in a position to recreate the experimental setup for her reaching study, using updated hardware and software suggested by the AVL. By using the open TUIO framework, along with the open-source Mono and MonoDevelop projects, the AVL created sample applications which should be useful and extensible in the future, even if alternative touch solutions are used.

Professor Hanna Block studies how the brain resolves discrepancies between different kinds of sensory information. In years past, Professor Block developed a study wherein subjects’ hands were tracked as they reached for targets. This tracking was performed with an optical tracking solution, commonly used in virtual reality applications, and controlled using a C program. At IU, Professor Block wished to update the reaching study using a C# program and, if possible, a cheaper and easier tracking solution. Using the apparatus made in collaboration with the AVL (see figure below), subjects make reaching and pointing movements on the lowest surface, while looking into the mirror. The images in the mirror appear to be on the same plane as the unseen hands.

IU’s Advanced Visualization Lab is funded through the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, is a unit of UITS Research Technologies, and is affiliated with the Pervasive Technology Institute. For questions about this project or to request a consultation, please contact

NSF GSS Codes:

Primary Field: Neurobiology and Neuroscience (915) - Neurobiology and  Behavior

Secondary Field: Computer Science (401) - Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications