Fly: A Tool For Authoring Planar Presentations

I read the paper "Fly: A Tool For Authoring Planar Presentations" by Leonhard Lichtschlag, Thorsten Karrer, and Jan Borchers at RWTH Aachen University.  Their website is here.

RubberEdge - UIST 2007

I read the paper RubberEdge: Reducing Clutching by Combining Position and Rate Control with Elastic Feedback from UIST 2007. It was written by Géry Casiez, Qing Pan and Christophe Chaillou of the University of Lille, France and Daniel Vogel of the University of Toronto, Canada. You can read the paper here.

The paper give descriptions of three types of input device:

Isotonic: This type of device uses position control to manipulate selection. Examples of this are the mouse, touch pads found on laptops, and pen inputs/touch displays.

Isometric: This type of device is stationary and responds to force or pressure applied to it, increasing the rate of movement based on the pressure applied. Examples of this are joysticks and the "nubs" found in older laptops.

Elastic: This type of device combines isotonic and isometric controls into a single input device. Part of the device uses position control while another part uses rate control.

The main problem the researchers are trying to solve is that of "clutching," which happens in isotonic devices when the limits of the position control interface are reached and the device must be moved or "re-calibrated" to continue input in a particular direction. An example of clutching occurs when a mouse reaches the edge of a mouse pad and must be picked up and moved back to the center of the pad to continue moving in one direction. A similar issue occurs in laptop touch pads.

Elastic devices solve the clutching problem by providing some sort of isometric control at the edge of the position control area. The paper goes on to describe some previous implementations of elastic devices that fail to work intuitively or have certain mathematical flaws.

The team's solution to the clutching problem is "RubberEdge," a device which basically is a touch pad with a ring around it that is attached to elastic bands and can be pushed outward a bit to control mouse movement at the edge of the touch pad.

The paper describes some trajectory problems that arise when transitioning from the touch pad to the elastic boundary and the methods and mathematics used to solve them.

The team claims that a small circular RubberEdge input device is 20% more efficient that a standard laptop touch pad. They designed and implemented several tests to determine the efficiency of this input.