Human-Computer Interaction Research Earns Xiaojun Bi Second Google Faculty Research Award

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Xiaojun Bi

Xiaojun Bi

For the second year in a row, Xiaojun Bi has won a Google Research Award for his proposal to investigate gesture-based authentication for smartphones. Bi is assistant professor of Computer Science in the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

Bi’s newly-funded Google research seeks to explore gesture typing, a widely adopted and popular text entry method for smartphone authentication. Authentication or “logging in” plays a vital role in keeping smartphone user information safe. Existing authentication schemes include using a PIN or a pattern locker to secure devices.

Last year Professor Bi received a Google Research Award to to address user-interface design issues caused by the imprecision of touch.

“I am deeply grateful to Google for recognizing me and my research team with the prestigious Google Faculty Research award two years in a row,” Bi said. “Google’s support will not only boost research in my lab, but also provide opportunities for us to generate broader and greater impact.”   

Google Faculty Research Awards are one-year awards structured as unrestricted gifts to support the research of world-class permanent faculty members at top universities around the world pursuing cutting-edge research in areas of mutual interest.

With the goal of improving the security and usability of authentication methods, BI and his team of students will investigate the benefits entering a word by gliding a finger over letters/digits, as illustrated by the images below.

User interface

One of the aspects of gesture typing that will be studied is a new hybrid method called Gesture Tap Authentication (GTA). On the left GTA is presented on a number pad; on the right, GTA is shown on a keyboard.

 

user interface

Bi and his team will also investigate invisible gesture typing, or IGA, which will utilize an invisible keyboard for gesture typing authentication. The image on the left shows GTA using a partially invisible keyboard. On the right, an invisible keyboard is used.

 

 

 

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