New designs of user input systems have resulted from the developing technologies and specialized user demands. Conventional keyboard and mouse input devices still dominate the input speed, but other input mechanisms are demanded in special application scenarios. Touch screen and stylus input methods have been widely adopted by PDAs and smartphones. Reduced keypads are necessary for mobile phones. A new design trend is exploring the design space in applications requiring single-handed input, even with eyes-free on small mobile devices. This requires as few keys on the input device to make it feasible to operate. But representing many characters with fewer keys can make the input ambiguous. Accelerometers embedded in mobile devices provide opportunities to combine device movements with keys for input signal disambiguation. Recent research has explored its design space for text input. In this dissertation an accelerometer assisted single key positioning input system is developed. It utilizes input device tilt directions as input signals and maps their sequences to output characters and functions. A generic positioning model is developed as guidelines for designing positioning input systems. A calculator prototype and a text input prototype on the 4+1 (5 positions) positioning input system and the 8+1 (9 positions) positioning input system are implemented using accelerometer readings on a smartphone. Users use one physical key to operate and feedbacks are audible. Controlled experiments are conducted to evaluate the feasibility, learnability, and design space of the accelerometer assisted single key positioning input system. This research can provide inspiration and innovational references for researchers and practitioners in the positioning user input designs, applications of accelerometer readings, and new development of standard machine readable sign languages.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/chunming-gao/3/