Temporal and Spatial Aspects of Pointing Gestures

Temporal and Spatial Aspects of Pointing Gestures

Christian Müller-Tomfelde (CSIRO ICT-Centre, Australia) and Fang Chen (National ICT Australia, Australia)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-386-9.ch009
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The detailed and profound understanding of the temporal and spatial organisation of human pointing actions is key to enable developers to build applications that successfully incorporate multimodal human computer interaction. Rather than discussing an ideal detection method for manual pointing we will discuss crucial aspects of pointing actions in time and space to develop the right solution for a particular application. One core element of pointing in the temporal domain is the so called dwell-time, the time span that people remain nearly motionless during pointing at objects to express their intention. We also discuss important findings about the spatial characteristics of the target representation for the pointing gesture.The findings foster better understanding of the role of pointing gestures in combination with other modalities and inform developer with substantial knowledge about the temporal-spatial organisation of the pointing gesture.
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Background: Pointing In The Context Of Multimodal Hci

In the typical situation of human computer interaction the user moves a physical device such as a mouse so that a screen cursor is placed over an element of the two-dimensional graphical user interface. With respect to the prior definition of pointing, the user’s referential act raises the “attention” of the computer as a dialogue partner (Maybury & Wahlster, 1998; Schomaker et al., 1995) for the object located under the screen cursor. After placing the cursor on the target, the user usually clicks on a mouse button and therefore explicitly signalling the intention to execute the function or the command that is associated with that interface element. This overall interaction is known as “point and click”. Furthermore, an interaction technique referred to as hovering is used in situations in which a mouse-click is not applicable or available for the user, e.g., during “drag and drop” or in pen-based interfaces. Nevertheless, to select a function, the user must hold the pointing device motionless for a certain period of time, to trigger a hover event by temporal discrimination. This provides information about the object in the focus of the attention. The “act” of hovering replaces the explicit click and allows for the selection of the target object.

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