This past year I had the pleasure of working with Seongkook Heo while he was an intern at Autodesk Research on quite a cool input and interaction techniques project. The project focused on analyzing, and developing an understanding of the situational factors that can constrain our opportunities for input with smart watches, and then used this knowledge (and the resulting taxonomy) to ideate on ways that we an utilize other body parts or actions to re-enable such input. From 3D printing fake hands to reading through participant comments about from Mechanical Turk about Seongkook kneading dough, the project was a very interesting exploration of input opportunities and ended up being a lot of fun. The paper, No Need to Stop What You’re Doing: Exploring No-Handed Smartwatch Interaction, was also co-authored by Ben Lafreniere, Tovi Grossman, and George Fitzmaurice from Autodesk Research, and will be presented at GI in May.
Smartwatches have the potential to enable quick micro-interactions throughout daily life. However, because they require both hands to operate, their full potential is constrained, particularly in situations where the user is actively performing a task with their hands. We investigate the space of no-handed interaction with smartwatches in scenarios where one or bot hhands are not free. Specifically, we present a taxonomy of scenarios in which standard touchscreen interaction with smartwatches is not possible, and discuss the key constraints that limit such interaction. We then implement a set of interaction techniques and evaluate them via two user studies: one where participants viewed video clips of the techniques and another where participants used the techniques in simulated hand-constrained scenarios. Our results found a preference for foot-based interaction and reveal novel design considerations to be mindful of when designing for no-handed smartwatch interaction scenarios.