This is an example on how the text cylinder may replace the traditional 2D combo and list boxes.




In the examples above it is apparent that the text cylinder make better use of the available screen real estate due to its geometry, perspective view and three dimensional rendering. Moreover, the cylinder offers a more natural navigation method (rotation instead of scrolling) and makes the eye stay focused on the visible cylindrical surface only. It does not create frustrating discontinuities as the edges of the list box.


A demo executable for windows can be found here (note: both files need extraction form the zip file). A video demo can also be found at youtube. A Microsoft Visual Studio control (like a standard combo or list box) is under development. The first version is likely to be either an ActiveX control or a .Net component. More platforms are also considered, e.g. Java, Eclipse, Linux, Symbian, Brew, etc.



This method has been first presented in the thesis of Evangelos Pappas-Katsiafas at University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in 1995. A drawing and an excerpt are presented below:

Image and design taken from a thesis describing a new method for visualising time series (temporal data) on the surface of a cylinder:

Excerpt from the thesis about the 'cylinder' visualisation method:
"...the instances of each time varying value are placed in a single column. The value instances over a time period can be viewed by rotating the cylinder around its axis. The correspondent to ‘NOW’ time point, textual tuple is positioned along the facet closer to the viewer, which is the most distinguished due to the perspective projection and the photorealistic rendering."