Title page for ETD etd-09292000-16510050

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Spencer, Ronald Allen
Author's Email Address rospenc4@vt.edu
URN etd-09292000-16510050
Title Analysis of Performance Resulting from the Design of Selected Hand-Held Input Control Devices and Visual Displays
Degree Master of Engineering
Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Barfield, Woodrow S. Committee Chair
Kleiner, Brian M. Committee Member
Nussbaum, Maury A. Committee Member
  • Interaction Devices
  • Wrist-word Display
  • Input Devices
  • Head-mounted Display
  • Fitts Law
Date of Defense 2000-08-18
Availability unrestricted
Since the introduction of graphical user interfaces (GUI), input control devices have become an integral part of desktop computing. When interfacing with GUIs, these input control devices have become the human's primary means of communicating with the computer. Although there have been a number of experiments conducted on pointing devices for desktop machine, there is little research on pointing devices for wearable computer technology. This is surprising because pointing devices are a major component of a wearable computer system, allowing the wearer to select and manipulate objects on the screen. The design of these pointing devices will have a major impact on the ease with which the operator can interact with information being displayed (Card, English, and Burr, 1978). As a result, this research is the first in a series to investigate design considerations for pointing devices and visual displays that will support wearable computer users.

Twenty soldiers participated in an experiment using target acquisition software with five pointing devices and two visual displays. The findings of the research strongly support the use of a relative mode-pointing device with rotational characteristics (i.e. trackball or thumbwheel) over other designs. Furthermore, the results also suggest that there is little difference between pointing devices operated with the thumb and index finger for target acquisition tasks. This study has also showed that there were little differences in pointing and homing time for pointing devices across the two visual displays. Finally, the study demonstrated that the Fitts' law model could be applied to hand-operated pointing devices for wearable computers. This is important because it allows the future development of pointing devices to be compared with the devices tested in this research using the Fitts' Law Index of Performance calculations.

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