Yi-Ta Hsieh defends his PhD thesis on Exploring Hand-Based Haptic Interfaces for Mobile Interaction Design on June 8th, 2017

M.Sc. Yi-Ta Hsieh will defend his doctoral thesis Exploring Hand-Based Haptic Interfaces for Mobile Interaction Design on Thursday the 8th of June 2017 at 12 o'clock noon in the University of Helsinki Exactum Building, Auditorium CK112 (Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2b). His opponent is Professor Kaisa Väänänen (Tampere University of Technology, Finland), and custos Professor Giulio Jaccuci (University of Helsinki). The defence will be held in English.

Exploring Hand-Based Haptic Interfaces for Mobile Interaction Design

Visual attention is crucial in mobile environments, not only for staying aware of dynamic situations, but also for safety reasons. However, current mobile interaction design forces the user to focus on the visual interface of the handheld device, thus limiting the user's ability to process visual information from their environment. In response to these issues, a common solution is to encode information with on-device vibrotactile feedback. However, the vibration is transitory and is often difficult to perceive when mobile. Another approach is to make visual interfaces even more dominant with smart glasses, which enable head-up interaction on their see-through interface. Yet, their input methods raise many concerns regarding social acceptability, preventing them from being widely adopted. There is a need to derive feasible interaction techniques for mobile use while maintaining the user's situational awareness, and this thesis argues that solutions could be derived through the exploration of hand-based haptic interfaces.

The objective of this research is to provide multimodal interaction for users to better interact with information while maintaining proper attention to the environment in mobile scenarios. Three research areas were identified. The first is developing expressive haptic stimuli, in which the research investigates how static haptic stimuli could be derived. The second is designing mobile spatial interaction with the user's surroundings as content, which manifests situations in which visual attention to the environment is most needed. The last is interacting with the always-on visual interface on smart glasses, the seemingly ideal solution for mobile applications. The three areas extend along the axis of the demand of visual attention on the interface, from non-visual to always-on visual interfaces.

Interactive prototypes were constructed and deployed in studies for each research area, including two shape-changing mechanisms feasible for augmenting mobile devices and a spatial-sensing haptic glove featuring mid-air hand-gestural interaction with haptic support. The findings across the three research areas highlight the immediate benefits of incorporating hand-based haptic interfaces into applications. First, shape-changing interfaces can provide static and continuous haptic stimuli for mobile communication. Secondly, enabling direct interaction with real-world landmarks through a haptic glove and leaving visual attention on the surroundings could result in a higher level of immersed experience. Lastly, the users of smart glasses can benefit from the unobtrusive hand-gestural interaction enabled by the isolated tracking technique of a haptic glove. 

Overall, this work calls for mobile interaction design to consider haptic stimuli beyond on-device vibration, and mobile hardware solutions beyond the handheld form factor. It also invites designers to consider how to confront the competition of cognitive resources among multiple tasks from an interaction design perspective.

Availability of the dissertation

An electronic version of the doctoral dissertation is available on the e-thesis site of the University of Helsinki at http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-3464-6.

Printed copies will be available on request from Yi-Ta Hsieh: yi-ta.hsieh@helsinki.fi.


07.06.2017 - 09:17 Pirjo Moen
23.05.2017 - 12:43 Pirjo Moen