Award-Winning Research Could Make Wristwatches Smarter Than Smartphones
Stony Brook, NY– July 13, 2017 – Award-winning research co-authored by Xiaojun Bi , an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University outlines the design, decoding algorithm and implementation for COMPASS, a rotational keyboard that will be used to enter text into smartwatches without the need for a touchscreen.
Entering text on smartwatches is currently quite difficult, especially on those without a virtual keyboard. COMPASS is a text entry method that is based in the bezel of the watch, allowing the user to rotate three cursors that will enable them to select which letter they want to type. After selecting their letter, the locations of the cursors are then dynamically optimized to reduce the distance of the next rotation. This is similar to the predictive typing that most users would be familiar with on their smartphones, but finally allows a comparable method to be applied to smartwatches for the first time.
The researchers evaluated the performance of COMPASS with a series of user studies, which revealed that with 90 minutes of practice, users increased their typing speed from 10 wpm (words per minute) to 12.5 wpm. As stated in the research paper, an advantage of the circular layout is that different from conventional QWERTY keyboards T9 keyboards (the keyboard on the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch), is that it allows the remaining screen area to be in a round shape. Therefore, the screen contents can be scaled to fit in the inner area without changing the look-and-feel.
The research paper won a prestigious award at this year’s ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (ACM CHI). ACM CHI is the premier international conference of Human-Computer Interaction. Professor Bi’s paper was co-authored by researchers from Tsinghua University (Beijing), the Key Laboratory of Pervasive Computing, and the Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology. When submitted to the field’s flagship conference, Bi’s paper, COMPASS : Rotational Keyboard on Non-Touch Smartwatches, was awarded the CHI 2017 Honorable Mention Award, which is given to the top 5% of papers.
Xiaojun Bi is also the recipient of a 2017 Google Faculty award ; his research lies in the general area of Human Computer Interaction, with a primary focus on building interactive systems, designing interaction techniques, and studying fundamental issues of user interface design on mobile devices.
Photos credit to attached photos: Stony Brook University
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