University of Padova

Interactive Multitouch Tabletop

Project Description

Multitouch interactive tabletops are one of the most innovative and promising techno-logy. These systems are a combination of software and hardware that integrate compu-ter technology into a table and allows one or multiple users to manipulate digital content by the use of natural hand gesture on a surface interactive display. Multitouch interacti-ve surfaces, just a traditional table, provide a flexible workspace for a multitude of activi-ties, allowing people to work in collaboration. With the collaboration of MultiTouch Ltd (finnish manufacturer of table- and wall-sized multitouch displays) and the HIIT (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology) we conducted an usability study to investigate the implementation of a new interactive gesture that permit to orient items (documents or images) toward the user position automatically. In order to evaluate the usability of such automatic rotation, we verified its appropriate-ness depending on the intent of the manipulator and the level of collaboration required to the task.

Interactive Multitouch Tabletop Interactive Multitouch Tabletop
Work Description

We conducted a comparison study of four pairs of participants engaged in two different tasks that required different levels of collaborations. A type of task involving a tightly coupled work where participants cannot do much work before interaction, and a second loosely coupled task where participants can work independently without reliance on on-going interaction with the other person. Practically, the participants had to put different pages of a scrambled document in the right order using a document browsing application: in the tightly coupled condition parti-cipants have to collaborate in order to rearrange the documents while in the loosely coupled conditions, users have to rearrange two different documents independently. We collected performance, number of touches, questionnaires and analyzed interac-tions from video sequences.

Interactive Multitouch Tabletop Interactive Multitouch Tabletop
Results

For loosely coupled tasks, our study demonstrates that the automatic rotation condition is comparable to the manual rotation: time performance and rate of touches are similar between the conditions with and without the automatic rotations. Questionnaire data in-dicate that users prefer to use automatic rotations gesture during loosely coupled task even if the gesture required some training in order to use it effectively. Automatically o-rientating information allows ease of reading and speed of interaction, especially during loosely coupling work, but it limits the use of orientation as a collaborative and commu-nicative tool. In fact, the study suggest that the automatic rotation technique is not suita-ble for tightly collaborative work. The results show that automatic rotations lead to worse performance and increase completion time compared to the tightly coupled task without automatic rotations. In addition, questionnaire data indicate lower users’ ratings compa-red to the other conditions. Video analysis shows that in a collaborative setting, an au-tomatic straight-on orientation aligned with the user’s arm is not always desired and it can hinder the interaction. The study contribute to the future development and asses-sment of this new automatic rotation gesture.


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