Tux Member Presentation

Daniel Vogel:
Expressive Interaction

2017-03-28 12:30 at DGP Lab: 40 St. George St., 5th Floor


Many interaction techniques focus on immediate usability with little learning effort. This is a reasonable goal in many cases, but sometimes expending effort to master a more nuanced and complex technique can be beneficial if it increases expressivity. Expressivity refers to the breadth of what can be represented and communicated in an interaction language – the more expressive, the greater the variety and quantity of commands that can be accessed. As a musical analogy, consider the expressivity of a triangle versus a violin. In this talk, I survey my research focusing on expressive interaction. This includes: Conté, a pen-like input device modeled after an artist’s crayon that leverages small changes in contact geometry; Pin-and-Cross, a touch overloading technique combining static touches (“pins”) with nearby crossing selection; Gunslinger, a mid-air interaction technique using barehand postures and gestures performed in a relaxed arms-down position; and Finger-Aware Shortcuts, a method to trigger different keyboard shortcuts depending which finger, hand, and posture presses a key.



Professor Vogel’s research focuses on human-computer interaction (HCI) in combination with computer graphics and visual art in the pursuit of developing better experiences for people using computers.

Input and interaction techniques change significantly as computing moves off of the desktop, onto our laps, into our pockets, and now, spreading throughout our environment. The increase in display area on surfaces like tables and walls, combined with contextual access, enable new experiences — but only when input, interaction, and visualization are tailored to human capabilities.  While efficiency and usability remain important criteria, aesthetic experience and comfort become absolutely essential when computing is embedded in the fabric of our environment.

Professor Vogel’s approach combines the methodical study of human capabilities and characteristics to inform the design of novel input devices and techniques. Vogel works on fundamental input topics such as pointing, control-display gain, input signal filtering, hand occlusion, and gestural input. He has leveraged results in these areas to design freehand pointing techniques for large displays, a hybrid absolute and relative pen input technique, a multi-modal contact-sensing device modeled after an artist’s Conté crayon, and techniques for using whole body input with large interactive public displays.