Interacting with a smartphone using touch input and speech output is challenging for visually impaired people in mobile and public scenarios, where only one hand may be available for input (e.g., while holding a cane) and using the loudspeaker for speech output is constrained by environmental noise, privacy, and social concerns. To address these issues, we propose EarTouch, a one-handed interaction technique that allows the users to interact with a smartphone using the ear to perform gestures on the touchscreen. Users hold the phone to their ears and listen to speech output from the ear speaker privately. We report how the technique was designed, implemented, and evaluated through a series of studies. Results show that EarTouch is easy, efficient, fun and socially acceptable to use.
Ruolin Wang, Chun Yu, Xing-Dong Yang, Weijie He, and Yuanchun Shi. 2019. EarTouch: Facilitating Smartphone Use for Visually Impaired People in Mobile and Public Scenarios. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Paper 24, 1–13. [DOI]: https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605.3300254
EARTOUCH: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The ear is soft with a complex shape. Therefore, its contact pattern with the touchscreen is complicated and easily deformed, as opposed to the contact pattern of a finger touch, this makes it hard for the phone to track the ear’s movement and gestural input. Additionally, the ergonomics of interaction are reversed: Eartouch gestures has to be performed by moving the device and not the input apparatus (ear). So the design of interaction paradigm cannot be generated by directly leveraging the knowledge that we have about finger-based touch.
EARTOUCH: STORIES BEHIND RESEARCH