University of Padova

Developing a natural gestural alphabet for home appliance control

The kitchen is a very hectic environment, where we often work with greasy and dirty hands and touching appliances to change their properties can be problematic. Gesture-based interfaces can be very helpful in his context, because they allow the user to operate the interface from a distance. Often gestural commands are defined by designers and developers overlooking users’ spontaneous moves. Such gestures were often found to be difficult to learn and perform by users, thus resulting in low adoption rate. The aim of the present PhD grant was to develop a willing-to-use gestural command set for controlling the lighting system embedded into an exhaustion hood.
A user-centered design approach was adopted and target users were involved in the gesture definition process. More specifically, a gesture elicitation study was conducted. A virtual simulation of the hood was developed and projected in real size to help users contextualize the experimenter’s requests. Users’ movements were video-recorded by multiple cameras and were then systematically analyzed offline with a dedicate software. The taxonomy of gestures and movements emerged informed the design of the actual hood with the embedded lighting system.

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