DigiTouch: Reconfigurable Thumb-to-Finger Input and Text Entry on Head-mounted Displays

Eric Whitmire, Mohit Jain, Divye Jain, Greg Nelson, Ravi Karkar, Shwetak Patel, Mayank Goel
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DigiTouch is a reconfigurable glove that senses thumb-to-finger touches. It enables general input as well as text entry on head-mounted displays.


Input is a significant problem for wearable systems, particularly for head mounted virtual and augmented reality displays. Existing input techniques either lack expressive power or may not be socially acceptable. As an alternative, thumb-to-finger touches present a promising input mechanism that is subtle yet capable of complex interactions. We present DigiTouch, a reconfigurable glove-based input device that enables thumb-to-finger touch interaction by sensing continuous touch position and pressure. Our novel sensing technique improves the reliability of continuous touch tracking and estimating pressure on resistive fabric interfaces. We demonstrate DigiTouch's utility by enabling a set of easily reachable and reconfigurable widgets such as buttons and sliders. Since DigiTouch senses continuous touch position, widget layouts can be customized according to user preferences and application needs. As an example of a real-world application of this reconfigurable input device, we examine a split-QWERTY keyboard layout mapped to the user’s fingers. We evaluate DigiTouch for text entry using a multi-session study. With our continuous sensing method, users reliably learned to type and achieved a mean typing speed of 16.0 words per minute at the end of ten 20-minute sessions, an improvement over similar wearable touch systems.