ThumbAir: In-Air Typing for Head Mounted Displays
PubDate: January 2023
Writers: Hyunjae Gil；Ian Oakley
Typing while wearing a standalone Head Mounted Display (HMD)—systems without external input devices or sensors to support text entry—is hard. To address this issue, prior work has used external trackers to monitor finger movements to support in-air typing on virtual keyboards. While performance has been promising, current systems are practically infeasible: finger movements may be visually occluded from inside-out HMD based tracking systems or, otherwise, awkward and uncomfortable to perform. To address these issues, this paper explores an alternative approach. Taking inspiration from the prevalence of thumb-typing on mobile phones, we describe four studies exploring, defining and validating the performance of ThumbAir, an in-air thumb-typing system implemented on a commercial HMD. The first study explores viable target locations, ultimately recommending eight targets sites. The second study collects performance data for taps on pairs of these targets to both inform the design of a target selection procedure and also support a computational design process to select a keyboard layout. The final two studies validate the selected keyboard layout in word repetition and phrase entry tasks, ultimately achieving final WPMs of 27.1 and 13.73. Qualitative data captured in the final study indicate that the discreet movements required to operate ThumbAir, in comparison to the larger scale finger and hand motions used in a baseline design from prior work, lead to reduced levels of perceived exertion and physical demand and are rated as acceptable for use in a wider range of social situations.