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Finger-specific key presses could speed up computer interaction

Date:
May 12, 2016
Source:
University of Waterloo
Summary:
If you're looking for a way to use a computer more efficiently, researchers may have a solution for you. Researchers have recently filed a patent that would allow computer users to trigger different shortcut commands by pressing the same keyboard key with different fingers, hands, or hand postures.
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If you're looking for a way to use a computer more efficiently, researchers at the University of Waterloo's David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science may have a solution for you. Master's candidate Jingjie Zheng and Professor Daniel Vogel have recently filed a patent that would allow computer users to trigger different shortcut commands by pressing the same keyboard key with different fingers, hands, or hand postures. Quick facts 1 - People can use different hand postures to press the same key quickly and accurately across the keyboard using both hands. 2 - People like the index finger and the thumb with other fingers closed most. They are the fastest too! 3 - People don't like the ring finger and the middle finger both with other fingers closed. You could probably imagine why. 4 - Using different postures are as fast as different modifier keys when pressing the same key to activate commands!
Credit: Jingjie Zheng, Daniel Vogel (University of Waterloo)

If you're looking for a way to use a computer more efficiently, researchers at the University of Waterloo's David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science may have a solution for you.

Master's candidate Jingjie Zheng and Professor Daniel Vogel have recently filed a patent that would allow computer users to trigger different shortcut commands by pressing the same keyboard key with different fingers, hands, or hand postures.

"At its core, this provides a more nuanced way to press keys on a keyboard," explained Vogel. "There has been a lot of excitement recently about controlling a computer with voice, touch and gestures. Our work revisits the lowly keyboard and demonstrates how it can be taught some new tricks."

In a paper presented at the Association for Computing Machinery's 34th annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Zheng and Vogel, found that users can access more keyboard shortcut commands by using a built in computer vision algorithm that identifies fingers and hands on a keyboard captured by a built-in laptop camera and reflector.

These finger-aware shortcuts can help programmers, video editors, stock traders, architects, graphic designers, and those who use complicated programs for their work. They would immediately benefit from this kind of method to access program commands using a keyboard. This could also help PC gamers who are looking to increase the number of available commands.

"Our goal is to provide people with as many keyboard shortcuts as possible using just the keyboard that we use everyday. It's a simple idea, but we found that people like it a lot," said Zheng. "There's been research looking at how physical modifications to the keyboard can offer more availability and expressivity, but there's been one extra input dimension from your hands all the time!"

During their study, participants were shown the command and they were required to activate the corresponding keyboard shortcut after doing a text entry task or a trackpad pointing task. There was a cheat sheet that could be activated by the space key to help the participant memorize the mappings. The user error rate was 1.9%.


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Materials provided by University of Waterloo. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jingjie Zheng, Daniel Vogel. Finger-Aware Shortcuts. Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 2016 DOI: 10.1145/2858036.2858355

Cite This Page:

University of Waterloo. "Finger-specific key presses could speed up computer interaction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160512100511.htm>.
University of Waterloo. (2016, May 12). Finger-specific key presses could speed up computer interaction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160512100511.htm
University of Waterloo. "Finger-specific key presses could speed up computer interaction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160512100511.htm (accessed March 26, 2017).