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PalmSpace: continuous around-device gestures vs. multitouch for 3D rotation tasks on mobile devices

Sven Kratz, Michael Rohs, Dennis Guse, Jörg Müller, Gilles Bailey, Michael Nischt AVI 2012

Abstract: Rotating 3D objects is a difficult task on mobile devices, because the task requires 3 degrees of freedom and (multi-)touch input only allows for an indirect mapping. We propose a novel style of mobile interaction based on mid-air gestures in proximity of the device to increase the number of DOFs and alleviate the limitations of touch interaction with mobile devices. While one hand holds the device, the other hand performs mid-air gestures in proximity of the device to control 3D objects on the mobile device's screen. A flat hand pose defines a virtual surface which we refer to as the PalmSpace for precise and intuitive 3D rotations. We constructed several hardware prototypes to test our interface and to simulate possible future mobile devices equipped with depth cameras. We conducted a user study to compare 3D rotation tasks using the most promising two designs for the hand location during interaction -- behind and beside the device -- with the virtual trackball, which is the current state-of-art technique for orientation manipulation on touch-screens. Our results show that both variants of PalmSpace have significantly lower task completion times in comparison to the virtual trackball.