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Improving digital handoff in tabletop shared workspaces




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Handoff is a synchronous object transfer technique in face-to-face collaborative work and is one of the low-level actions of collaboration that is smooth and natural in physical settings; however, in digital tabletop workspaces, digital handoff is often awkward and difficult to control. We carried out a series of studies to investigate how digital handoff could be improved in tabletop systems. We first observed people doing several real-world tasks around a standard table and found that handoff is as common in the real-world as deposit (an asynchronous tool transfer technique). The study identified several guidelines to support the design of handoff actions in digital tabletop system. We then examined 2D-handoff techniques; by running a pilot study, we compared the traditional handoff technique with the real-world tangible handoff technique, and found that the traditional digital handoff technique was not well suited for transferring objects on the tabletop. By analyzing the handoff mechanism we spot the bottleneck that affected traditional handoff procedures and designed a novel 2D-handoff technique, force-field technique, which alleviated this bottle-neck to solve this problem. Through a user-study we found that the force-field technique was significantly faster than current digital handoff techniques and as good as real-world 2D-handoff techniques. In addition, force-field handoff was most preferred by a majority of participants. We further designed and implemented a 3D-handoff technique that embodies our observations of how handoff occurs in the real-world setting. Finally, we evaluated our design in a simulated digital-tabletop task with the goal of assessing the usefulness of various digital transfer techniques including standard deposit, traditional handoff, force-field and 3D-handoff. The results showed that on the digital tabletop system the percentage of using deposit, 2D-handoff and 3D-handoff techniques is similar with the percentage of using these techniques on the real world physical table. 3D-handoff was the most preferred and the most frequently used technique among the handoff techniques; and the force-field technique is preferred than traditional handoff technique.



Shared wokspaces, Tabletop Display, Handoff



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Computer Science


Computer Science


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