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Vibrotactile feedback is widely used in mobile devices because it provides a discreet and private feedback channel. Gaze based interaction, on the other hand, is useful in various applications due to its unique capability to convey the focus of interest. Gaze input is naturally available as people typically look at things they operate, but feedback from eye movements is primarily visual. Gaze interaction and the use of vibrotactile feedback have been two parallel fields of human-computer interaction research with a limited connection. Our aim was to build this connection by studying the temporal and spatial mechanisms of supporting gaze input with vibrotactile feedback. The results of a series of experiments showed that the temporal distance between a gaze event and vibrotactile feedback should be less than 250 milliseconds to ensure that the input and output are perceived as connected. The effectiveness of vibrotactile feedback was largely independent of the spatial body location of vibrotactile actuators. In comparison to other modalities, vibrotactile feedback performed equally to auditory and visual feedback. Vibrotactile feedback can be especially beneficial when other modalities are unavailable or difficult to perceive. Based on the findings, we present design guidelines for supporting gaze interaction with vibrotactile feedback.
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Gaze Interaction with Vibrotactile Feedback:
Review and Design Guidelines
Running Head: Supporting Gaze Interaction with Vibrotactile Feedback
Vibrotactile feedback is widely used in mobile devices because it provides a discreet
and private feedback channel. Gaze based interaction, on the other hand, is useful in
various applications due to its unique capability to convey the focus of interest. Gaze
input is naturally available as people typically look at things they operate, but
feedback from eye movements is primarily visual. Gaze interaction and the use of
vibrotactile feedback have been two parallel fields of human-computer interaction
research with a limited connection. Our aim was to build this connection by studying
the temporal and spatial mechanisms of supporting gaze input with vibrotactile
feedback. The results of a series of experiments showed that the temporal distance
between a gaze event and vibrotactile feedback should be less than 250 milliseconds
to ensure that they are perceived as connected. The effectiveness of vibrotactile
feedback was largely independent of the spatial body location of vibrotactile
actuators. In comparison to other modalities, vibrotactile feedback performed equally
to auditory and visual feedback. Vibrotactile feedback can be especially beneficial
when other modalities are unavailable or difficult to perceive. Based on the findings,
we present design guidelines for supporting gaze interaction with vibrotactile
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1.1. Gaze Interaction
Eye Movements and Gaze Tracking
Gaze Gestures
Smooth Pursuit Interaction
1.2. Haptic and Vibrotactile Feedback
Touch Perception
Stimulation Parameters
Vibrotactile Actuators
3.1. Effectiveness of Vibrotactile Feedback
3.2. Temporal Limits between Gaze Events and Vibrotactile Feedback
3.3. Effects of Feedback Location and Spatial Setup
3.4. Vibrotactile Feedback in Comparison to Other Modalities
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Humans use the gaze to look at objects. This behavior can be used as a means to
control interfaces in human-computer interaction by estimating the gaze point with
the help of an eye tracker. Thanks to recent technological advancements and drop in
price, eye tracking is no longer a niche technology only used in laboratories or by
users with special needs. For example, with the price of an advanced game controller
(~$100), players can enhance their gaming experience with eye tracking
. A gaze-
aware game knows where the player’s visual attention is at each moment and can
offer optional input methods (Isokoski, Joos, Špakov, & Martin, 2009) and enhanced
gaming experience (Vidal, Bismuth, Bulling, & Gellersen, 2015). At the same time,
research on mobile eye tracking has been active. Simple eye-awareness is already
included in some cell phone models (e.g. Samsung, 2013, p. 30), so that the phone
“knows” when the user is looking at it. Research on pervasive and mobile gaze
interaction has demonstrated how eye tracking can enhance the interaction with
mobile phones (Dybdal, San Agustin, & Hansen, 2012; Miluzzo, Wang, & Campbell,
2010; Rozado, Moreno, San Agustin, Rodriquez, & Varona, 2015), tablets (Holland &
Komogortsev, 2012), smartwatches (Akkil et al., 2015; Hansen et al., 2015; Hansen
et al., 2016), smart glasses (Zhang et al., 2014), as well as smart environments and
public displays (Zhang, Bulling, & Gellersen, 2013).
Since the eye is primarily a perceptual organ, using gaze as an intentional control
method poses challenges for interaction design (Skovsgaard, Räihä, & Tall, 2012).
Most importantly, viewing should not be misinterpreted as a voluntary command. In
gaze interaction literature (Jacob, 1991), this problem is known as the “Midas touch”
problem where viewed objects are unintentionally acted on. Feedback plays an
essential role in informing the user how the system is interpreting the gaze. Gazing an
object in real life provides naturally only visual feedback. Computers and smart
devices can indicate if an object has been recognized as being pointed at, or being
selected. Previous research has shown that visual and auditory feedback on gaze input
significantly improve user performance and satisfaction (e.g. Majaranta, MacKenzie,
Aula, & Räihä, 2006). However, the effects of haptic feedback in gaze interaction
have remained largely unknown. We assume haptic feedback could provide a useful
alternative to, at least the audio, as auditory and haptic perception are known to share
similarities. For example, Jokiniemi, Raisamo, Lylykangas, and Surakka (2008) found
that participants could perceive auditory and tactile rhythms more accurately than
visual rhythms. Auditory and haptic feedback can be perceived independently from
the gaze location. Unlike the distal senses of vision and hearing, touch is a proximal
sense that provides information of things close to or in contact with us. How would
the interplay of a distal (vision) and proximal (touch) sense work? For instance,
instead of seeing a button change its appearance, the user could feel the click of a
button after selecting it with gaze. Could this novel combination of modalities provide
some benefits compared to visual and auditory feedback or is this unnatural
combination of action and feedback perhaps incomprehensible? These were the
questions that motivated us in the work reported in this paper.
Haptic feedback has become more common in consumer technology due to the
emergence of mobile and wearable devices designed to be in contact with the skin.
see e.g.
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The most popular form of haptic stimulation in mobile and wearable devices is
vibrotactile feedback. For example, continuous vibration is an effective way to notify
of incoming calls with mobile phones. Shorter vibration bursts are used on phones and
tablets to replace the tactile feel of pressing a physical key when typing with a virtual
keyboard. This has been shown to improve typing speeds (Hoggan, Brewster, &
Johnston, 2008). Vibrotactile technology is also included in some smartwatches. In
the Apple Watch
, for instance, vibrotactile stimulation is used to mimic a heartbeat
that can be sent to a close friend or family member. With multiple actuators, it is
possible to create touch sensations that move on the wrist (J. Lee, Han, & G. Lee,
2015; Lee & Starner, 2010). To date, commercial smart glasses and other head-
mounted devices have not utilized vibrotactile feedback. This is surprising since it is
known that users can quite accurately localize which part of the head is stimulated
with vibrotactile actuators (e.g. Myles & Kalb, 2013).
We were interested in studying how vibrotactile feedback could support gaze
interaction. We conducted a series of experiments, where we focused on four main
research questions: effectiveness of vibrotactile feedback (RQ1), temporal limits
between gaze events and vibrotactile feedback (RQ2), effects of feedback location
and spatial setup (RQ3), and vibrotactile feedback in comparison to other modalities
(RQ4). Because our results are spread over more than 20 papers (14 of which are
discussed here), this could make it difficult for future researchers to extract the main
findings. The contribution of this paper is to summarize the research results in a
compact form and serve as a collection of pointers to more detailed work in the
original papers. The goal is to add to the understanding of how the two modalities of
haptics and gaze can be utilized effectively in HCI.
The organization of the paper is as follows. We will first introduce gaze
interaction and vibrotactile feedback. We then present results from the experiments
before discussing lessons learnt from the studies. We end with general discussion and
present design guidelines based on the accumulated knowledge and insights.
1.1. Gaze Interaction
Eye Movements and Gaze Tracking
There are different ways to implement gaze based human-computer interaction.
We follow the classification of Møllenbach, Hansen, and Lillholm (2013) who used
three categories based on how we use our eyes: fixation based, saccade based, and
smooth pursuit based interaction.
When we look at things, we fixate our gaze on the object of interest. The duration
of such a fixation can vary from tens of milliseconds to a few seconds (Holmqvist et
al., 2011, p. 381), depending on the task. However, the typical average duration over
several different tasks is about 200-350 ms (Rayner, 1998), with 100 ms as a typical
minimum duration (Mulvey, 2012, p. 18). Due to the distribution of the sensory cells
on the retina, only a small area of the scene can be seen accurately. The dense color-
sensing cell population on a small area known as the fovea makes the visual acuity
excellent, but only on a small 1.5-2 degree area at the center of the visual field. The
need of humans to turn their eyes so that objects of interest are projected on the fovea
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makes gaze tracking such a useful tool in tracking visual attention. Peripheral vision,
on the other hand, is sensitive to changes and a movement in the periphery easily
attracts our visual attention.
The eye movements between fixations are called saccades. These are rapid
ballistic eye movements with high velocity (up to 500 per second) with average
duration of about 30-50 ms, depending on the distance covered. For example, 12
movement takes about 50 ms (Gilchrist, 2011). Saccades can have quite wide
amplitudes but most every day saccades remain below 15. Our vision is suppressed
during a saccade.
A third major type of eye movement is called smooth pursuit. Smooth pursuit
allows us to continuously track a moving object and to track a stationary object while
we ourselves are moving. When the head is moving, the eye movements are guided by
the vestibule-ocular reflex, which utilizes information from balance organs in the
head. When the head is not moving smooth pursuit is generated based on visual
information only. Smooth pursuit movements are often accompanied with corrective
saccades, to keep up with the motion.
There are also other eye movements, such as microsaccades, rotations, and
vergence movements that are not relevant for this article. Further information can be
found, e.g. in the handbook of eye movements by Liversedge, Gilchrist, and Everling
A number of methods have been used for tracking eye movements (Duchowski,
2007) and defining gaze position, or gaze vector (Hansen & Ji, 2010). The most
common method is based on analyzing a video image of the eye, also known as video-
oculography (VOG). For each captured frame, the tracking software detects a number
of visual features, such as pupil size, pupil center, etc. VOG-based trackers typically
require a calibration before the gaze point can be estimated. During the calibration,
the user looks at dots (usually 5-9), one at a time. The calibration dots and the
corresponding sets of visual features are used by the tracking software to calculate the
visual-features-to-gaze-point transformation that is then used to estimate gaze point
based on the eye images. An additional corneal reflection from a near-infrared light
source (often used to provide stable eye illumination) can help in compensating for
head movements, thus improving the tracking accuracy. The tracker can also be
mounted on the head, e.g. by integrating it into eye glass frames. Tracking gaze in 3D
poses additional challenges, such as how to map the gaze vector to the real life scene.
Techniques include e.g. using a scene camera to recognize visual markers placed in
the environment (see e.g. Pfeiffer & Renner, 2014).
In addition to VOG, eye movements can also be detected by electro-oculography
(EOG), based on the cornea-retinal potential difference (Majaranta & Bulling, 2014).
This method is most useful in detecting relative eye movements when the exact point-
of-gaze is not needed. This is because the accuracy of the absolute gaze point position
is not high. Earlier versions of EOG trackers were invasive, as they required sticky
electrodes to be placed on the skin around the eyes. Most recent implementations hide
the contact points, for example to the nose piece of eye glass frames (Ishimaru et al.,
2014) or to ear pods (Manabe, Fukumoto, & Yagi, 2015), making the EOG a viable
alternative to VOG. However, in our studies, we used the VOG based eye tracking.
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Detecting saccades, fixations, and smooth pursuits from gaze data samples is not a
trivial task, especially in real-time. As a general rule, it can be said that a fixation is
detected when the eye remains within about one degree of vision for at least 100 ms,
and a saccade when the movement exceeds two degrees (Mulvey, 2012, p. 18).
Detecting smooth pursuit is challenging and several algorithms have been proposed
(Larsson, Nyström, Andersson, & Stridh, 2015). Luckily, interactive applications can
often be constructed without relying on explicit classification of samples. Instead,
user interfaces can operate utilizing areas that are in focus without having to know
whether a fixation or a smooth pursuit made the gaze stay on them. Also, smooth
pursuit-based interaction does not really require smooth pursuit in a strict sense. Most
algorithms can work regardless of whether smooth pursuit or small saccades cause the
gaze trajectory correspond to the trajectory of a moving object. Consequently, in the
work reviewed in this paper, names of the eye movements are used rather loosely. A
fixation often means a relatively stable period in eye movements and smooth pursuit
should be understood as a movement that could be a smooth pursuit, but could include
something else as well.
There are multiple ways of using gaze in human-computer interaction. Gaze can
be used as implicit input, where the system identifies the users interest based on gaze
pattern and adjusts system behavior accordingly. Alternatively, gaze can be used to
provide explicit commands. For our studies, we chose three different approaches for
explicitly using gaze as input; dwell-select, gaze gestures, and smooth pursuit based
interactions. We will next describe these approaches in more detail.
Dwell-select is based on fixations: the user fixates on a target in order to select it.
However, the temporal and spatial thresholds for a dwell are different from a fixation.
Since we use fixations for visual perception, dwell time should exceed the normal
fixation duration to avoid the Midas touch problem. A suitable dwell time depends on
the task. For example, a fairly short dwell time (e.g. <400 ms, Räihä & Ovaska, 2012)
may be preferred in eye typing where dwell is used to select letters from an on-screen
keyboard in a repetitive manner while more complex problem-solving tasks require
longer dwell times (e.g. 1000 ms, Bednarik, Gowases, & Tukiainen, 2009).
Similarly to the dwell duration, the area in which the gaze should remain can be
defined based on the task. Typically, for interaction purposes it is enough if the gaze
remains within the borders of the interface control element, e.g. a button. The size of
the fovea and the accuracy achieved by the VOG trackers limit the minimum size of a
selectable object to about 1-2 degrees. Increasing the button size makes it easier to
select (for methods to cope with the eye tracking inaccuracy, see e.g. Majaranta, Bates
& Donegan, 2009).
To avoid false selections, some indication of the selection process is needed. First,
an indication of gaze entering the target confirms that the tracker is correctly
following the gaze and that the user’s intention is correctly interpreted. When
feedback on target entry is shown before the target is activated, it gives an opportunity
to move the gaze away and thus prevent an unintended command. Finally, a separate
feedback for the target activation (e.g. auditory click to confirm a button press) marks
the end of a successful selection process.
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Gaze Gestures
Gaze gestures exploit eye movements but they differ from natural saccades as they
follow a specific pattern (Drewes & Schmidt, 2007; Istance, Hyrskykari, Immonen,
Mansikkamaa, & Vickers, 2010). Huckauf and Urbina (2008) define gaze gestures as
sequences of fixation locations, which are not necessarily coupled to dwell times”. In
other words, even though there is a short fixation in between saccades, no dwelling is
needed apart from a pause between consecutive gestures. The gestures can be simple,
such as pointing downwards e.g. to scroll down, or complex sequences that are
interpreted as abstract commands. For example, crossing predefined sequences of on-
screen areas with the gaze can be recognized as commands by the system (Porta &
Turina, 2008). One of the challenges in eye gesture design is the need to make
gestures simple and fast to learn and execute (Huckauf & Urbina, 2008) but distinct
enough to be easily distinguished from other eye movement activity (Drewes, De
Luca & Schmidt, 2007). One of the proposed ways to achieve this are gestures that
include off-screen targets (Isokoski, 2000) i.e. targets that are located outside the
normal viewing area, such as computer or smartphone screen. Gestures do not need to
be bound to locations. This means that they can be insensitive to spatial accuracy
problems (Drewes & Schmidt, 2007). Eye trackers based on electro-oculography tend
to have poor accuracy, but they can still be utilized with gesture systems, especially in
mobile settings (Bulling, Roggen, & Tröster, 2009).
Visual feedback is useful for indicating the focus point on a computer screen.
However, gaze gestures are often made in a fast sequence which may make it hard to
perceive visual feedback. In addition, relative gaze gestures that are not bound on any
specific location require different kind of feedback. Auditory feedback may be useful
as it can be perceived independently of gaze behavior (MacKenzie & Ashtiani, 2011).
The resulting action or command is of course a kind of feedback to the gaze-issued
command. In addition, it may also be useful to provide feedback to the user while
making the gesture to inform about its progress. Otherwise, it can become hard to
interpret what kind of problem prevented the successful completion of the desired
command by gaze: was it the tracker that was not receiving data, or one of the strokes
that was not recognized, or did the user make a wrong gesture?
Smooth Pursuit Interaction
Smooth pursuit interaction is based on pursuit movement while tracking an object.
One interesting feature of smooth pursuit is that it enables the user to draw by eyes a
fairly smooth curve. Trying to draw a circle by the eyes without the pursuit results in
rugged angular form, caused by numerous small saccades (Heikkilä & Räihä, 2009).
Smooth pursuit eye movements enable spontaneous gaze interaction in situations
where calibration is inconvenient or hard to accomplish. Instead of learning certain
gaze gestures, the user simply follows one of the several moving objects to initiate a
command. Smooth pursuit interaction can be exploited e.g. with large public screens
(Vidal, Bulling, & Gellersen, 2013) or smartwatches (Esteves, Velloso, Bulling, &
Gellersen, 2015).
Some visual feedback is inherent in the procedure of smooth pursuit interaction
itself: the object to be tracked must be seen. Visual feedback is also useful in
confirming that the system has noticed that the object is tracked by gaze, e.g. by
changing the appearance of the control object (Esteves et al., 2015) or by playing
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auditory feedback while the pursuit interaction is active (Kangas et al., 2016a;
Špakov, Isokoski, Kangas, Akkil, & Majaranta, 2016).
In all of the above cases, proper feedback is essential for efficient and pleasant
gaze interaction. Before going into combining gaze interaction with haptics, we will
first introduce the main concepts of haptic and vibrotactile feedback.
1.2. Haptic and Vibrotactile Feedback
Haptics refers to “sensory and/or motor activity based in the skin, muscles, joints
and tendons” (ISO, 2009). This activity is processed in the human somatosensory
system which can be divided into proprioception, kinesthesis, and cutaneous senses
(Goldstein, 1999). Proprioception and kinesthesis are related to the sense of position
and movement of our limbs. They enable us to feel forces that can be created with
haptic technology. However, many haptic force feedback devices are not suitable for
mobile use because they are large and need to be attached to a surface. Cutaneous
sensations, on the other hand, are mediated by the skin. In this article, we focus on
tactile stimulation which refers to mechanical interaction with the skin (Kern, 2009).
A typical tactile stimulation type is vibration.
Tactile stimulation is sensed via mechanoreceptors in the skin. The four main
types of mechanoreceptors Merkel receptors, Meissner corpuscles, Pacinian
corpuscles, and Ruffini endings each respond to different touch stimuli (Gardner,
Martin, & Jessell, 2000) that can vary between pressure, taps, skin stretch, and
vibration (Goldstein, 1999). Efficient use of these stimuli for communicating
information requires knowledge of touch perception across different body parts.
Touch Perception
Pressure sensitivity of the skin has an influence, for example, on how easily we
can sense a fly landing on our skin. This is easier in body parts with high sensitivity.
The most sensitive areas to pressure are the forehead (face), trunk, and fingers,
whereas the feet are the least sensitive areas (Weinstein, 1968). From tactile feedback
viewpoint, information of pressure sensitivity is especially relevant when designing
stimulation methods that use taps or other linear indentation of the skin. Another
important sensitivity measure is vibration sensitivity. Using a vibrator placed against
different parts of the skin, Wilska (1954) found hands and soles of the foot to be most
sensitive. The least sensitive were the abdominal and gluteal regions of the body.
Furthermore, spatial sensitivity is related to our capability to identify and
differentiate between touch locations. A classic measure to study this is the two-point
threshold test which measures the smallest separation between two points on the skin
that is perceived as two points rather than one (Goldstein, 1999). Weinstein (1968)
reported that this spatial acuity is highest in the distal parts of the body (e.g. fingers
and palm) and decreases when moving towards proximal parts (e.g. forearm and
upper arm). The measured thresholds were lowest in fingers (2-3 mm), facial area (5-
7 mm), and palm (10 mm). The least sensitive parts were the calf, thigh, upper arm,
and back (all over 40 mm). In practice, the distance between two points should not be
shorter than the thresholds to ensure that users can differentiate the stimuli.
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Finally, there are also some temporal differences in perception of touch
stimulation across the human body. Because of neural processing, information of a
touch reaches the brain faster if the touched body part is close to the head. For
example, travel time for the toes is approximately 30 ms longer than for the nose
(Macefield, Gandevia, & Burke, 1989). Taken together, the most touch sensitive parts
of the human body are the fingers, palm, and facial area. This is also reflected in
earlier haptics research where especially fingers (e.g. Pietrzak, Crossan, Brewster,
Martin, & Pecci, 2009; Tan, Durlach, Reed, & Rabinowitz, 1999) and palm (e.g.
Rantala et al., 2011; Yatani & Truong, 2009) have been studied extensively. The
location of stimulation is only one parameter that can be varied when using tactile
stimulation in human-computer interaction. We will next extend our discussion to the
other parameters.
Stimulation Parameters
Vibration and other forms of tactile stimulation can be used to communicate
information to users by creating sensations that are perceptually different. This is
achieved by varying parameters of mechanical stimulation. In addition to spatial
location, the most important parameters are frequency, amplitude, waveform,
duration, and rhythm.
Frequency perception is mediated by mechanoreceptors that respond to
stimulation frequencies ranging from 0.3 Hz to over 500 Hz (Goldstein, 1999). The
human peak sensitivity of sensing vibration is approximately 250 Hz, and many
actuators are optimized for this frequency. In practice, it is recommended to use a
maximum of 3-5 different frequency levels because with more levels differentiating
them becomes difficult (Sherrick, 1985). Amplitude is related to the “loudness” of
stimulation, and it should be such that the stimulation can be detected by the user
while still being low enough not to be annoying or cause discomfort. Similarly to
frequency, the number of used amplitude levels should be kept relatively low (Brown
& Kaaresoja, 2006).
Waveform is the shape of the signal fed to a tactile actuator. A sine wave is the
recommended waveform for many actuators based on their electro-mechanical design,
and, therefore, not all actuators are capable of accurately reproducing other
waveforms (Brown, 2007). Duration of actuation defines the time the skin is
stimulated. The human skin is very sensitive to touch, and even stimulation lasting
only a few milliseconds can be perceived. In practical applications, it is beneficial to
use longer stimulation so that users are able to detect it even when mobile. On the
other hand, too long vibration can become annoying. Rather than use constant
vibration, it may be more efficient to create rhythmic stimulation consisting of several
temporally separated pulses. The design space of rhythm is vast, and it is possible to
create very large stimulus sets where individual stimuli are still perceptually different
(Enriquez & MacLean, 2008).
Lastly, as discussed above, spatial location is an effective parameter as long as the
spacing between actuators is sufficient for the stimulated body part. Sofia and Jones
(2013) reported that when nine actuators were placed on the palm, participants could
localize a single actuator with 85 % accuracy (inter-actuator spacing 22 mm). To
reach a comparable accuracy of 92 % on the abdomen, Cholewiak and Collins (2003)
placed eight actuators evenly with an inter-actuator spacing of 107 mm. For
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stimulating the head, Myles and Kalb (2010) recommended to use no more than four
vibrating actuators to ensure robust localization. While these findings can guide
placing of tactile actuators, they should not be taken as absolute limits because many
other factors such as the used actuator type can also affect the localization accuracy.
Vibrotactile Actuators
Vibration is the most commonly used tactile stimulus type in current consumer
devices. This is partly because vibrotactile actuators are relatively simple to control
and the technology is inexpensive. The actuators are typically the size of a coin or
smaller and, therefore, highly suitable for mobile and wearable devices. Vibration is
also a stimulation method that is currently better understood than other alternatives
such as static pressure or skin stretch. For these reasons, we have used vibrotactile
actuators exclusively in our work where we wanted to have the main focus on
combined use of gaze and vibrotactile feedback.
The three main approaches to creating vibrotactile sensations are rotary
electromagnetic actuators, linear electromagnetic actuators, and non-electromagnetic
actuators (Choi & Kuchenbecker, 2013). Rotary electromagnetic actuators are
typically based on an off-center mass which is attached to a shaft so that its rotation
causes vibration when current is on (Figure 1a). These eccentric rotating mass (ERM)
motors have been used in many mobile phones and game controllers. Limitations of
ERM motors include latency in starting and stopping the mass. In addition, it is not
possible to control both amplitude and frequency independently; changing one also
affects the other.
Linear electromagnetic actuators are based on a magnet and movable coil that
interact when current is applied to the coil. The same operating principle is used in
audio speakers. Examples of linear electromagnetic actuators are shown in Figure 1.
The C2 tactor (EAI, Engineering Acoustics, Inc.) has a contactor that moves
perpendicularly to the skin (Figure 1b). Because the C2 has a cylindrical housing, it
can be easier to embed in devices or garments than the HiWave HIHX14C02-8
(Figure 1c). The moving part can also be fully enclosed in a housing. Examples of this
include the PMD C10-100 (Figure 1d) and the LVM8 (Figure 1e) actuators that have
diameters of less than 10 mm. Linear electromagnetic actuators provide relatively
precise control over stimulation parameters because amplitude and frequency can be
defined independently.
(a) (b) (c) (d) (e)
FIGURE 1. Examples of vibrotactile actuators: ERM motor (a), EAI C2 (b),
HiWave HIHX14C02-8 (c), PMD C10-100 (d), and LVM8 (e). A one Euro coin is
included for scale.
Many non-electromagnetic actuators such as piezoelectric actuators also offer
very precise control over stimulation parameters. Piezoelectric actuators stimulate the
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skin by utilizing thin layers that shrink or expand according to the driving signal
polarity (Poupyrev & Maruyama, 2003). However, high activation voltage of around
100V is needed to create movement (Pasquero et al., 2007). Tactile stimulation can
also be provided in mid-air using pneumatic air pressure systems (Sodhi, Poupyrev,
Glisson, & Israr, 2013) or ultrasound transducers (Hoshi, Takahashi, Iwamoto, &
Shinoda, 2010). These technologies are typically targeted to enhance interaction based
on hand gestures (e.g. Sodhi, Poupyrev, Glisson, & Israr, 2013). Even though
especially ultrasound-based solutions can already be miniaturized, we chose linear
electromagnetic actuators because they are suitable also when stimulating body areas
other than the hands.
In summary, our review focuses on vibrotactile stimulation of the human skin that
is only a subset of the possible stimulation types in haptic interaction. Force feedback
technology capable of stimulating also the muscles and tendons would offer a richer
haptic experience, but enabling it in mobile and wearable settings is currently
difficult. Furthermore, since haptics and gaze have not been studied together to date,
starting to map the possible design space by focusing on one stimulation type was a
practical choice.
We conducted a series of experiments in controlled laboratory settings to start
building an understanding of how to best combine gaze interaction and vibrotactile
stimulation. We constructed prototype systems that utilized gaze trackers for
estimating participant’s gaze point and vibrotactile actuators to stimulate the
participant’s skin. The choice of eye tracker and vibrotactile actuators depended on
the goal of each individual study (see Figure 2 for details).
Main research
Eye tracker
Location of
Zhi, 2014
of vibrotactile
Tobii T60
Kangas et al.,
RQ2: Temporal
Tobii T60
Rantala et al.,
Gaze gestures
RQ3: Feedback
Tobii T60
Kangas et al.,
Gaze gestures
RQ2: Temporal
Tobii T60
Kangas et al.,
Gaze gestures
of vibrotactile
Tobii T60
Kangas et al.,
Gaze gestures
RQ4: Feedback
Tobii T60
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Käki et al., 2014
of vibrotactile
Tobii T60
Akkil et al., 2015
Gaze gestures
RQ4: Feedback
Špakov et al.,
RQ3: Feedback
Tobii T60
Head, neck,
and back
Rantala et al.,
Gaze gestures
of vibrotactile
Tobii EyeX
Majaranta et al.,
RQ4: Feedback
Tobii T60
Wrist and
Köpsel et al.,
Gaze gestures
RQ4: Feedback
Kangas et al.,
RQ4: Feedback
Tobii EyeX
Kangas et al.,
Gaze gestures
and tablet
RQ3: Feedback
Tobii EyeX
Head and
FIGURE 2. Studies reviewed in this paper. For each study, we list the gaze
interaction technique, device form factor, main research question, eye tracker,
vibrotactile actuator, and location of vibrotactile feedback. See Figure 1 for images of
the actuators.
The focus in each study was on studying the effects of vibrotactile feedback.
However, all our user interface prototypes were multimodal because at least some
visual feedback was always available. We made no special effort to block out sounds
generated by the vibrotactile actuators because they would be present in real products
as well. However, in some cases (Köpsel, Majaranta, Isokoski, & Huckauf, 2016;
Majaranta et al., 2016) the actuators were placed on a pillow to prevent disturbing
sound from the vibration. Participants were recruited mainly from the local University
community, and all signed informed consent forms before proceeding to the
experiments. If the used gaze interaction technique required tracker calibration, this
was done in the beginning of the experiment. We also made sure that the stimulation
amplitude level set in the piloting phase of each study was perceivable for
participants. All experiments included within-subject comparisons, and we collected
both quantitative and qualitative data. The ETU-Driver
was used for gaze data
acquisition in some of the studies. Other studies utilized directly the SDKs provided
by the tracker manufacturer, like Tobii EyeX SDK
In testing for statistically significant differences, we often used a non-parametric
permutation test (e.g. Dugard, 2014; Nichols, 2002). Permutation tests are not widely
used in HCI. Therefore, we will briefly explain the rationale. The starting point is the
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observed value of the statistic in interest, the test statistic (e.g. the difference between
means in two feedback conditions). This observed value of the test statistic is
compared against a distribution of test statistics produced by re-sampling from the
measurements assuming no difference between the test conditions (i.e. if the null
hypothesis is true). The relevant p-value is the proportion of the distribution that is
more extreme or equal to the observed value. In other words, given the observed data,
how likely was the difference to occur by chance?
The argument is that if the null hypothesis is true, then all possible permutations
of the data are equally likely, and the observed sample is just one of them and should
appear as a typical value. If this does not seem to be the case (the observed test
statistics value is rather extreme, there are only a few equally extreme or more
extreme values) then the null hypothesis probably is not true. The permutation test
principle is very general, and does not depend on assumptions on the normality of
samples, random sampling, or independence of observations.
This section presents results from our experiments organized according to the four
main research questions. We start by introducing work that studied the effectiveness
of added vibrotactile feedback (RQ1). We wanted to measure if vibrotactile feedback
provides performance benefits in gaze interaction tasks. Next, we move on to studying
the temporal limits in giving vibrotactile feedback for gaze events (RQ2). We expect
that a too long delay after a gaze event makes it difficult to associate the event with
subsequent feedback. We then investigate how body location of vibrotactile feedback
affects the use of gaze input (RQ3). Since vibrotactile stimulation is typically absent
in gaze interaction, there is no prior work on finding a suitable body location for
feedback. We conclude the results section by focusing on comparisons between
vibrotactile stimulation and other feedback modalities (RQ4).
3.1. Effectiveness of Vibrotactile Feedback
We were interested in learning whether added vibrotactile feedback has an effect
on gaze interaction, and what this effect is. Gaze interaction with a mobile phone was
chosen as the target application for the first experiment (N=12) originally reported in
Kangas et al. (2014b). Vibrotactile feedback was given with the phone’s built-in LRA
actuator. Gaze gestures were used for input because they are more robust than dwell-
select in mobile scenarios (Bulling et al., 2009; Drewes & Schmidt, 2007; Dybdal et
al., 2012).
The task was to select a name from a contact list and make a simulated call (see
Figure 3). The user could browse the list by making two-stroke gaze gestures. Each
gesture started by looking at the phone screen. The user then made a gaze stroke
outside of the screen, immediately (within a 500 ms threshold) followed by a
returning stroke that took the gaze back to the screen. The list of names could be
scrolled up and down by using gestures moving above or below the screen,
respectively. The highlighted name in the middle could be selected by a gesture to the
right. A gesture to the left cancelled the action and returned back to the list.
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FIGURE 3. The mobile phone used in Kangas et al. (2014b) was held in front of a
gaze tracker (left). The experimental interface consisted of a list of contact names
(right). © 2014 Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Reprinted by permission.
Four feedback conditions were tested:
No: No vibrotactile feedback.
Out: Vibrotactile feedback confirming a stroke out (from the device).
Full: Vibrotactile feedback for the full gesture (to confirm the returning
Both: Vibrotactile feedback for both strokes (out and return).
The results from a within subject study showed that vibrotactile feedback
increased the efficiency of the interaction. Especially, task completion times in the
Out condition were significantly shorter than in the No and Full conditions (p 0.05
for both). Without vibrotactile feedback, participants also performed more gestures to
complete the task than in other conditions. Participants appreciated the vibrotactile
feedback; the condition which confirmed both strokes was most liked. None of the
participants preferred the condition with no vibrotactile feedback.
Besides the convenience of having vibrotactile actuators embedded in the phone,
vibrotactile feedback was well suited for this scenario also because visual feedback
was not available outside of the device. Vibrotactile feedback indicated that the
gesture segment ending outside the device was successfully recognized. In addition,
feedback of a returning stroke could provide a confirmation of a full gesture even
without visually inspecting the resulting changes on the screen. This is probably
useful especially when several consecutive gestures are made at a fast pace. Visual
feedback can also be hard to detect during rapid gesturing, where fixations for the
purpose of observing feedback would just slow down the interaction (Istance et al.,
We continued to study the effect of vibrotactile feedback on gaze gestures in
another experiment (N=12) originally reported in Rantala et al. (2015) where the
vibrotactile feedback was given via eye glass frames (Figure 4). The eye glass form
factor of head-mounted gaze trackers provides multiple natural contact points to the
skin, enabling to build an integrated system that tracks the gaze and also provides
vibrotactile feedback to gaze events. Another advantage of the glass frames is that
they can provide spatially congruent feedback: vibrotactile feedback can be given on
the left or on the right, corresponding to the gesture direction.
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FIGURE 4. Glasses with three vibrotactile actuators.
In this study, the participants’ task was to make a gesture to the given direction on
a computer screen. In the beginning, the participant focused on a marker in the center
of the screen. The marker changed its appearance into an arrow symbol to indicate the
gesture direction (‘<’ for the left and ‘>’ for the right, see Figure 11). This time, there
was a visible target box on the screen to mark the ending location of the “outgoing”
gesture (the landing area used for tracking was bigger than the visible target box). The
gesture started from the center box and ended when the gaze returned to the center
box. The results showed that the task times were longer without vibrotactile feedback
(M = 510 ms, SD = 112 ms) than with vibrotactile feedback (M = 415 ms, SD = 104
ms). Even though the difference was not statistically significant, the results indicated
that vibrotactile feedback could potentially make gaze gestures faster also when
stimulation is felt on the head.
In the studies described so far, vibrotactile feedback was used to confirm a gaze
event (stroke or gesture). Alternatively, the feedback can be used to inform the user of
an ongoing process or an upcoming event. Zhi (2014) studied the effect of vibrotactile
feedback on dwell time progression in eye typing. The eye typing application had an
on-screen keyboard that could be operated by dwell-select. Vibrotactile feedback was
given on the participant’s index finger. Three feedback conditions were selected to
study whether added information of dwell time progression affects typing
performance. In the Ascending feedback condition, the vibrotactile feedback faded in
by increasing the amplitude of the feedback during the dwelling. In the Warning
feedback condition, a short 50 ms notification was given to mark the start of the dwell
duration. In the No dwell feedback condition no feedback of dwelling was given. In
all conditions, the final selection was marked by a short (50 ms) vibrotactile feedback.
The results of a user study (N=12) showed no benefits for the vibrotactile feedback on
dwell progression in quantitative or qualitative measures. The only statistically
significant result showed that the number of keystrokes per character increased in the
Ascending condition compared to the No dwell condition, indicating that participants
made more (erroneous) key activations when ascending vibrotactile feedback was
given. One potential explanation for the increased error rate could be that the
Ascending vibration made it hard to perceive the exact moment of selection. Earlier
studies have shown that error rates may increase, if the feedback does not have a
distinct point for selection (Majaranta et al., 2006). The main finding of this study was
that vibrotactile feedback of dwelling provided no measurable benefits as evidenced
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by the fact that participants performed equally well when given only the final
selection feedback in No dwell condition.
The possibility to use vibrotactile feedback as a “warning” was evaluated in a
study (N=12) where gaze was used to implement automatic scrolling of web pages
(Käki, Majaranta, Špakov, & Kangas, 2014). A short vibration was given to the user’s
index finger to warn the reader that their gaze had entered an active scrolling area.
The results showed no statistically significant differences in task times between
conditions with and without vibrotactile feedback. However, post-experiment
interviews revealed an important design issue. Participants who understood the
purpose of the vibrotactile warning found it useful, while some had trouble
associating it with the scrolling. This was probably due to a too long delay of 700 ms
between the vibrotactile warning and the start of the scrolling. As described in the
next subsection, to be useful, the temporal distance (delay) between the gaze event
and the vibrotactile feedback should not be too long.
3.2. Temporal Limits between Gaze Events and Vibrotactile
Since the combination of gaze interaction and vibrotactile feedback had not been
studied before our research and some of the issues were not easily explored in the user
interface contexts described in the previous section, we also conducted experiments in
artificial laboratory tasks to find tolerable temporal limitations for giving vibrotactile
feedback for gaze events. The question of delay is of practical importance because
there are many potential sources of system delay in gaze-operated interactive systems.
These include, for example, the eye tracker sample rate, eye tracker video processing,
data transmission from the tracker to the main CPU of the device including network
delay, processing time, transmission delay of the vibrotactile pulse, as well as the rise
time of the vibrotactile actuator. As discussed in Section 1.2, the neural processing
time of touch stimulation also varies depending on the distance between the
stimulated body location and the brain. However, these perceptual delays are short
and beyond the control of the user interface designer. Therefore, it is important to
focus on the system delay. Because eye movements are fast and frequent, the question
of delay is especially relevant in gaze based interaction.
In order to find the time limits for vibrotactile feedback on gazing events, we
designed an experiment (N=12) where the user had to find a target object among non-
target distractors based on vibrotactile feedback (Kangas, Rantala, Majaranta,
Isokoski, & Raisamo, 2014). Five boxes were shown on a computer display (see
Figure 5). Our motivation was to simulate a scenario where the user would see objects
that can be activated by gaze. For example, with a head-mounted gaze tracker, it
could be possible to interact with nearby networked devices such as light switches or
volume controls by looking at them. In the interface, one of the boxes gave
vibrotactile feedback when the user pointed at it by moving her gaze to the box. The
task was to indicate this target by pressing the spacebar key on the keyboard as soon
as feedback was felt. In a real use scenario, such feedback could be useful in scanning
the environment for objects that can be accessed by using gaze.
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FIGURE 5. Experimental interface consisting of five target boxes (Kangas et al.,
2014d). One of the boxes was the target box that triggered vibrotactile feedback felt
via a handheld actuator. © 2014 Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
Reprinted by permission.
The participant held a vibrotactile actuator between the thumb and the index
finger in the hand that did not operate the keyboard. We varied the delay between the
gaze event and the vibrotactile feedback to find out how much time we have for
giving the feedback before the (too long) delay starts to affect the user’s behavior.
The results showed that there was a significant increase in the error rates (i.e. the gaze
+ button press did not match the target) with delays around 250 to 350 ms (see Figure
6). This falls within the typical range of average fixation durations reported in
literature (see e.g. Rayner, 1998; Holmqvist et al., 2011, pp. 381-382). Also, the error
rates started growing prominently around 250 ms from the start of the fixation. With a
longer delay, the gaze may have already moved away from one target to another,
causing incorrect associations and confusion.
FIGURE 6. Mean error rates for different delays in Kangas et al. (2014d). © 2014
Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Reprinted by permission.
In a subsequent study (N=16), we investigated acceptable delays with gaze
gestures that exploit saccadic eye movements (Kangas et al., 2014a). Because the
movements can be quite fast, we could not rely on the results from the previous study
that was based on longer fixations at the target boxes. The setup and the task were
similar to the earlier study (Kangas et al., 2014b), where participants used gaze
gestures to browse a list of names and to make a simulated call (see Figure 3). We
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varied the delay of the feedback from 100 to 450 ms with 50 ms steps. These delay
times affected both the vibrotactile feedback (felt via the phone, given for the
outgoing stroke) and the visual feedback (resulting action on the screen after the
whole gesture was made). It should be noted that participants did not have to wait for
the feedback but could continue to the next stroke or gesture immediately.
The results showed that the acceptable delay is shorter when gaze gestures are
used for interaction (see Figure 7). Task completion times were significantly lower
when the delay was 150 ms or less (p < 0.05). We also analyzed the average time of
completing a single gesture. The results indicated that the shortest delay of 100 ms
resulted in significantly faster gesture times compared to all other delays (p < 0.05).
Thus, in the case of gaze gestures, the shorter the delay the better. However, 200 ms
seemed to be the practical upper limit for smooth interaction. If the delay increased
above it, the use of gaze gestures became notably more difficult. This was also noted
by the participants in their subjective evaluations. Interestingly, Figure 7 shows that
the completion times decreased when the delay was longer than 300 ms. A possible
explanation for this finding is that with very long delays participants proceeded to the
next gaze gesture without waiting for the feedback.
FIGURE 7. Block completion times in seconds for different delays in Kangas et
al. (2014a). © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014. Reprinted with permission of
3.3. Effects of Feedback Location and Spatial Setup
The spatial location of vibrotactile feedback on gaze events requires consideration
because it is not clear where stimulation should be presented. In conventional haptic
input devices the action (e.g. pressing a button) and the feedback (haptic sensations
from the pressing action) are co-located. In gaze-operated interfaces the acting body
part is the eye, but it is unlikely that the haptic feedback should be directed at the eye.
In fact, considerable discomfort would be expected. Therefore, feedback that is not
co-located seems a more suitable design option in this context. To explore the
possible locations, we gave vibrotactile feedback to the palm of the hand (Kangas et
al., 2014a; Kangas et al., 2014b; Köpsel et al., 2016), fingers (Kangas et al., 2014d;
Käki et al., 2014; Majaranta et al., 2016; Zhi, 2014), wrist (Akkil et al., 2015;
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Majaranta et al., 2016), back pakov, Rantala, & Isokoski, 2015), and head (Kangas
et al., 2014c; Rantala, Kangas, Akkil, Isokoski, & Raisamo, 2014; Rantala et al.,
2015; Špakov et al., 2015). We investigated how people experience and react to
vibrotactile feedback presented to different body locations.
We compared head and neck to back in a user study (N=12) where vibrotactile
stimulation was used as a cue for gaze direction (Špakov et al., 2015). Such cuing
could be used to indicate the direction of nearby gaze-interactive objects. This could
make it possible to locate and interact with objects when using a head-mounted gaze
tracker without a visual display. Also, providing cues for gaze direction could be used
for navigation assistance. Head and/or neck are potential areas because people often
wear eye glasses or necklaces, and head has been identified as a potential body
location for tactile navigation systems (Myles & Kalb, 2013). The back area could be
used, for example, with a car seat or in a wheelchair to support gaze interaction.
We ran pilot tests to find optimal locations where the stimulation would not be
unpleasant or too dominant, and at the same time would not get too weak because of
hair. The final locations are shown in Figure 8. By placing two actuators on the head
and two on the neck area, we could indicate directions using a similar four-actuator
configuration to that on the back. The design of the stimulation patterns was based on
the assumption that users’ gaze direction is always nearly orthogonal to the plane of
the rectangle with actuators located in corners. This way, the stimulation should be
perceived as occurring on the periphery of the visual field.
FIGURE 8. Locations of vibrotactile actuators on the back (a), neck and head (b)
in the gaze cueing study. Actuators were attached to two bands for the neck+head
condition (c). © 2015 IEEE. Reprinted, with permission, from Špakov et al. (2015).
We decided to use eight directions (see Figure 9) for cueing the gaze because this
was considered sufficient for our application scenarios of finding nearby gaze-
interactive objects and providing navigation assistance. To be able to do this with four
actuators, we developed encoding schemes for directions that are located in between
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the physical actuators. Pilot tests led to two possible modes of vibrotactile
stimulation: “parallel” where two actuators are stimulated at the same time and
“sequential” where the actuators are stimulated sequentially, with a 50 ms interval.
The participant’s task was to move their gaze from the home position on the center to
the direction of the vibrotactile cue. The results showed no statistically significant
differences in selection error or reaction latency between the body locations.
However, the participants made less errors when following cues given with sequential
mode where only one point on the skin was stimulated at a time. The higher number
of errors in parallel mode could be caused by the fact that when simultaneously
stimulating multiple adjacent points on the skin, people typically sense a single focal
sensation instead of multiple discrete points (Chen, Friedman, & Roe, 2003). It is
possible that the mislocalized sensation did not communicate directional information
as effectively as multiple discrete sensations in the sequential mode.
FIGURE 9. Experimental software showing the blue targets and red home-box in
the gaze cueing study. © 2015 IEEE. Reprinted, with permission, from Špakov et al.
We compared the head and fingers as feedback locations in an experiment (N=10)
where participants performed gaze gestures by looking at a tablet computer (Kangas
et al., 2016b). With tablets, a convenient way to give vibrotactile feedback is to
stimulate the back of the device that users naturally touch with their fingers (see
dashed circles in Figure 10). If smart glasses (that perhaps include also eye tracking)
are used, the glass frame provides possible locations for vibrotactile actuators (see
solid circles in Figure 10). Because both the tablet and glasses can be equipped with
multiple actuators, they are suitable form factors for providing spatially congruent
feedback of simple left-right gaze gestures.
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FIGURE 10. Locations of vibrotactile actuators on glasses (solid circles) and on
tablet (dashed circles) in a study comparing vibrotactile feedback felt on fingers and
head (Kangas et al., 2016b). © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.
Reprinted with permission of Springer.
We envision that gaze gestures could be used on a tablet, for example, to switch
between active programs or scroll a web page by moving the gaze to the side of the
display and back. For experimental purposes, we reduced this to a task where
participants made gaze gestures from the center of the screen to the direction
indicated by an arrow symbol (‘<’ or ‘>’). See Figure 11 for illustration of the
required gesture. In addition to comparing vibrotactile feedback on the fingers and
head, we were also interested in whether spatially congruent feedback affects user
performance in gaze gesture tasks. Thus, we had five different feedback location
conditions: Spatial Head, Spatial Fingers, Non-Spatial Head, Non-Spatial Fingers,
and No Feedback. In the spatial conditions, feedback was given using one actuator so
that it followed the gesture direction, and in non-spatial conditions using both
actuators simultaneously regardless of the gesture direction. We also varied the
number of successive gestures so that in a single trial the gesture was performed either
once, twice, or three times. This was done to evaluate how the gesture complexity and
vibrotactile feedback interact. For example, does feedback make the use faster if only
one gesture is performed?
FIGURE 11. An illustration of the interface used in Kangas et al. (2016b). The
middle box showed the gesture direction and number of repetitions with one to three
arrows. Only the boxes were visible on the display. The texts and arrows illustrate the
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gesture. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016. Reprinted with
permission of Springer.
The results showed no statistically significant differences in task completion times
between the feedback locations when all gestures were included in analysis (see
Figure 12). However, when analyzing only gestures that were performed three times
in succession, task completion times in No Feedback condition were significantly
longer than in Spatial Head and Non-Spatial Head conditions. One possible
explanation for this could be that the efficiency benefit provided by feedback
accumulated over time when performing multiple gestures. Eight out of ten
participants preferred spatial over non-spatial feedback but there was no clear
preference between finger and head stimulation.
FIGURE 12. Task completion times of 12 trials by different feedback conditions
in Kangas et al. (2016b). The gesture was performed either once, twice, or three
times. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016. Reprinted with
permission of Springer.
The results from our other studies without direct comparisons between multiple
body locations also support the finding that the body location for the vibrotactile
feedback is not as important as other design issues such as the properties of the
feedback signal itself. All the feedback locations that we tested in gaze interaction
hand, fingers, wrist, back, and head were generally feasible. Furthermore, we
compared legs and head in a study without gaze tracking. Nukarinen, Rantala, Farooq,
and Raisamo (2015) presented vibrotactile feedback using a seat and eye glass frames
in an experiment where directional cues were given to a driver to assist navigation.
Vibrotactile cuing was found useful and equally effective on both body sites in this
setup which required visual and auditory attention. Overall, we consider the finding
that many body sites are applicable in gaze interaction positive since this allows
designers to choose feedback location freely depending on the application and the
context (e.g. mobile/wearable).
In addition to the body location, also the spatial arrangement of the vibrotactile
actuators deserves some thought. As discussed above, some body locations such as
the head and neck may be more sensitive to vibrotactile stimulation (Špakov et al.,
2015). Furthermore, both the temporal as well as spatial distance of the vibrotactile
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actuators may also affect how well the feedback is perceived (Köpsel et al., 2016;
Špakov et al., 2015). Finally, as observed in the experiments above, not only can
spatial vibrotactile stimulation be used to cue directions (Nukarinen et al., 2015;
Špakov et al., 2015) but participants also prefer spatially congruent feedback in cases
where the task itself includes spatial actions, such as gaze gestures (Kangas et al.,
3.4. Vibrotactile Feedback in Comparison to Other Modalities
In the sections above, we have shown how vibrotactile feedback can support gaze
interaction. We were also interested in learning how vibrotactile feedback performs in
comparison to other feedback modalities. As discussed earlier, visual and auditory
feedback have been found to improve user satisfaction and performance in gaze
interaction (e.g. Majaranta et al., 2006). In our studies, we wanted to measure how
well vibrotactile feedback fared in comparison to these two more commonly utilized
feedback modalities.
We started by comparing vibrotactile feedback alone to no feedback (Kangas et
al., 2014b). When participants browsed a contact list and made simulated calls with
gaze gestures, none of them preferred the condition with no vibrotactile feedback. If
no vibrotactile feedback was given, the task was experienced as uncomfortable and
more difficult. Similarly, in the study where participants controlled a bus timetable
with gaze gestures (Kangas et al., 2014c), 9 out of 12 participants preferred the
condition where vibrotactile feedback was given on the glass frames over the no
vibrotactile feedback condition. Even though some participants disliked the
vibrotactile feedback when it was not timed correctly or was presented when not
intending to perform a gesture, they generally found that the feedback helped in
confirming the action and made them feel more in control. These findings are in line
with earlier work showing that vibrotactile feedback can provide benefits compared to
no feedback. For example, vibrotactile feedback improved typing speeds on mobile
phones when using a virtual keyboard (Hoggan et al., 2008).
Vibrotactile and visual feedback were compared in an experiment (N=12) with a
gaze-aware smart wristwatch (Akkil et al., 2015). The watch knew when it was
looked and could be operated by gaze gestures. Visual or vibrotactile feedback was
used to confirm that the gaze was recognized and the watch was ready for interaction.
Two experimental setups using applications with varying complexity were tested: a
simple notification task where only a single gesture was required, and a menu
navigation task that required multiple gestures to accomplish the task. Similarly to
previous studies, also here we used off-screen gestures that started by looking at the
screen. Visual feedback was given by highlighting the clock bar with a purple color
for 500 ms as soon as the gaze was detected. Vibrotactile feedback was given as a 30
ms short tap using an actuator mounted on a layer of foam between the watch and the
skin. The results showed no differences in feedback type preferences in the menu
navigation task. However, in the notification task, 9 out of 12 participants preferred
the vibrotactile feedback (2 preferred visual and 1 found them equal). Vibrotactile
feedback was found clearer and more noticeable. Some considered visual feedback
more appropriate because the user is already looking at the screen.
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In another study, we compared vibrotactile feedback with auditory and visual
feedback in an eye typing task where the feedback was used to confirm a selection
(Majaranta et al., 2016). In the first, exploratory experiment (N=12), auditory
feedback was given as a short click sound, vibrotactile feedback as a 100 ms vibration
felt on the wrist, and visual feedback as a 100 ms “flash” by changing the background
of the focused key. The results showed no statistically significant differences between
the feedback modalities. However, some participants commented that they did not
really need the confirmation on selection because the visual feedback on dwell time,
shown as an animated circle that closed when the dwell time was over, was enough as
a confirmation. Also, some participants did not like the vibrotactile feedback on their
wrist but commented that a finger would be a more suitable location. Thus, we ran
another experiment (N=12) with no hints for dwell time progression; we only
highlighted the background of the key on fixation to indicate where the focus is.
Vibrotactile feedback was given on the index finger instead of the wrist. We also
modified the vibrotactile feedback so that it better resembled the auditory ‘click’ and
felt more like a “tap” instead of a “buzz”: the vibration started sharply with maximum
amplitude and faded quickly. This time, vibrotactile feedback performed similarly to
auditory feedback both in performance and subjective metrics. Visual feedback
resulted in significantly slower typing speeds, higher error rates, and worse subjective
ratings. Participants commented that auditory and vibrotactile feedback were easier to
perceive; they could be heard or felt even if one blinked or had already started moving
the eye to the next key.
The vibrotactile, auditory, and visual modalities were compared also in an
experiment (N=16) studying calibration free smooth pursuit interaction (Kangas et al.,
2016a). We developed widgets that could be useful for adjusting continuous values
like sound volume or light level. We wanted to know how the feedback modality
affects the interaction with those widgets. The experimental task was to adjust a level
of gray color to approximately match the target color by looking at one of two moving
targets. One target decreased the tone (lowest level 0, black) and another increased it
(highest level 255, white). Feedback was given for every eighth adjustment step to
confirm that the system is recognizing the gaze input and “things happen”. Auditory
feedback was a short 12 ms click and vibrotactile feedback a 20 ms ‘tap’ presented
with glasses (see Figure 4). For visual feedback, we alternated symbols ‘x’ and ‘+’
shown on the moving targets. We also had a mode with no other feedback than the
final change of color for comparison. The results showed no statistically significant
performance differences between the modalities but there was a clear user preference
for vibrotactile and auditory feedback.
Finally, we ran a study (N=12) where auditory, vibrotactile, and visual feedback
were compared in performing gestures either by gaze or by hand (Köpsel et al., 2016).
The task was to enter numbers by using gestures composed of four stroke elements
(up, down, left, and right). The feedback was spatially congruent with the gesture. For
auditory feedback, we placed speakers in the laboratory so that in relation to the
participant, they were above, below, on the left, or on the right side of the
participant’s head. Vibrotactile feedback was given on the palm of the hand using a
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self-built pillow with four vibrotactile actuators (see Figure 13). Note that in the hand-
gesture mode gestures were made using the hand that did not receive vibrotactile
feedback. Visual feedback was shown on a computer screen that displayed four small
flashing rectangles to resemble the directions. The rectangles were located
approximately 6 cm away from the centre of the screen in the direction of the gesture.
Since each gesture had four strokes, the feedback was given four times for each
FIGURE 13. Pillow with four actuators used in the study by Köpsel et al. (2016).
The results showed no statistically significant differences in performance between
the feedback modalities. However, there were some differences between gestures
made by hand or by gaze. Gaze was faster as expected but the hand input had lower
error rate. It was also observed that using hand, participants could adjust the stroke
based on the feedback; they got the feedback while moving the hand and could react
and adjust the length of the stroke based on the feedback. Eye movements, on the
other hand, are fast ballistic movements. Thus, in practice the feedback was received
after the stroke had already been made. Furthermore, participants told they only noted
there was some vibrotactile feedback when performing gestures but could not really
differentiate the four directions on their palm. Interestingly, this was possible in the
beginning of the experiment as we made sure that all participants could perceive the
feedback from each actuator and understood its direction. The actuator placement
should be revised to ensure that spatial differences in feedback could be felt also when
attending to a primary task. In addition, considering future work, it would be
interesting to study the effects of giving a more co-located feedback on the same hand
that performs the gestures, e.g. by integrating the haptic actuators to a glove. We also
ran a follow-up experiment (N=12) to compare the effects of feedback given after the
whole gesture (with no feedback on strokes) but found no differences between
feedback modes in it either (Köpsel et al., 2016).
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We will present our main findings as design guidelines that are followed by a
discussion relevant to each guideline. We conclude with general discussion.
1. Consider vibrotactile feedback especially if the interaction involves no visual
displays or only small displays that are difficult to visually observe when
interacting by gaze.
The research surveyed in this paper showed that the way vibrotactile feedback
should be used in gaze based interaction depends on the gaze input type and use
scenario. Because dwell-select and smooth pursuit interaction both require focusing
the gaze on the target, this enables visual feedback on the object. In eye typing, if
animated visual feedback on the key selection was available, participants relied on it
and vibrotactile feedback on selection did not bring any additional benefits (Majaranta
et al., 2016). Similarly, vibrotactile feedback did not provide performance benefits
when using visual widgets based on smooth pursuit (Kangas et al., 2016a). However,
in many scenarios visual feedback is difficult to provide or notice. When interacting
with small displays (e.g. smartwatches) or with displays containing large amount of
information, perceiving subtle visual feedback to gaze events may be hard. Other
potential use cases for vibrotactile feedback are scenarios that do not involve a display
(e.g. using gaze to interact with real-world objects) or scenarios that use gaze gestures
or off-screen interactions similarly to Kangas et al. (2014b). We demonstrated faster
use of off-screen gaze gestures with a mobile phone when vibrotactile feedback was
available. Visual feedback may be problematic even with on-screen gestures, if users
start to slow down gesturing in order to see the feedback on the strokes (Istance et al.,
2. Vibrotactile feedback is at least as good as auditory and visual feedback in
task performance and user satisfaction.
Vibrotactile feedback performed equally to auditory and visual feedback in
supporting gaze interaction. In fact, vibrotactile and auditory feedback received more
positive subjective ratings than visual feedback in two studies (Kangas et al., 2016a;
Majaranta et al., 2016), and in one study vibrotactile and auditory feedback resulted in
faster task performance (Majaranta et al., 2016). These findings are in line with earlier
research indicating similarities between vibrotactile and auditory modalities
(Jokiniemi et al., 2008). In practice, the choice of feedback modality in gaze based
interaction depends also on the task, context, and user preferences. If visual feedback
is available and implemented in a way that it does not hinder user performance, no
additional feedback may be needed. If both visual and vibrotactile information are
available, vision usually dominates (Ernst & Banks, 2002). On the other hand,
because vibrotactile and auditory feedback do not require visual attention, they “free”
the eyes for gaze input. Vibrotactile feedback also provides privacy that other
modalities lack: the feedback is felt only by the user wearing or holding the device.
Auditory feedback is private if played back via headphones or an earbud, but this also
blocks environmental audio such as sounds of traffic that are important in avoiding
accidents. Vibrotactile feedback, on the other hand, can be presented to different body
locations without a negative effect on observing the environment. The actuated body
location can also be changed to take into account environmental vibration. For
example, when riding a bike on a bumpy road, perceiving vibrotactile feedback could
be easier on the head than on the wrist. In general, it is best to provide users the
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flexibility to choose the optimal feedback modality based on their personal and
contextual preferences if multiple modalities are feasible.
3. Delay between gaze event and the related vibrotactile feedback should not
exceed 250 milliseconds.
The temporal delay between a gaze event and vibrotactile feedback was shown to
affect user performance. This is in agreement with the results of Viciana-Abad,
Reyes-Lecuona, Poyade, and Escolano (2011) who demonstrated the importance of
coherent sensory feedback in haptic force feedback systems. In their study, a feedback
delay of 200 ms had a negative effect on pushing virtual buttons. Our results indicated
that, as a general rule, the delay should not exceed 250 ms to ensure that users can
associate the gaze event with its feedback (Kangas et al., 2014d). As the 250 ms limit
falls within the typical range of average fixation durations (Rayner, 1998; Holmqvist
et al., 2011), longer delays increase the risk of the user not perceiving feedback before
the gaze point has already moved on to a different area of the visual field. However, it
is important to note that the acceptable delay depends also on the task and eye
movement type. Dwell-select based on fixations can tolerate longer delays, assuming
that the used dwell time duration is at least 250 ms. On the contrary, with gaze
gestures that require more rapid eye movements a negative effect on performance was
observed already at 100-200 ms (Kangas et al., 2014a). While our experiments on the
temporal aspects of vibrotactile feedback focused mainly on measuring user
performance, it is also possible that too long delays add to user frustration if the link
between an action and feedback does not appear natural. Due to inherent latency
caused by the different components used in our experimental settings, we could not
measure the effect of delays shorter than 100 ms. Pushing the delay close to zero
could potentially lead to a situation where the user perceives the feedback already
before perceiving visual information at gaze point. Even though such a situation
remains largely theoretical, it does offer a possibility for future studies.
4. Distance between the eyes and body location of vibrotactile feedback can be
varied without affecting user’s capability to associate a gaze event and the
There were no performance differences in users’ task completion times between
gaze interaction tasks where vibrotactile feedback was given to fingers, head, and
back. We hypothesized that the times required for neural processing of touch
stimulation on different areas of the human body could introduce delays up to 30 ms
to the interaction (Macefield et al., 1989). There are at least two possible reasons for
why we did not find any differences when varying the spatial location of vibrotactile
feedback. First, we did not study stimulation of the toes which supposedly should
cause the longest delays. Second, as discussed above, the (to some extent random)
delays in our experimental settings might have masked the possible effects caused by
the feedback location. However, our findings did indicate that participants appreciated
the congruence given by short spatial distance (achieved e.g. with glasses) as long as
the stimulation presented relatively close to the eyes was perceived as pleasant. If the
stimulation is too strong or startling, it could possibly lead to involuntary eye
movements that affect user performance. Given that we did not observe such negative
effects of head stimulation in our comparison studies (Kangas et al., 2016b; Špakov et
al., 2015), the chosen amplitude and frequency levels seemed to be generally feasible.
The fact that head stimulation received comparable subjective ratings to finger and
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back stimulation is a valuable finding because the head is considered a highly touch
sensitive body part that has not been widely utilized in earlier research.
5. Maintain spatial congruence by making the vibrotactile feedback follow the
direction of the gaze point.
In addition, our findings showed that it is better to provide feedback that is
spatially congruent with gaze movement if vibrotactile feedback is presented to
multiple locations. For example, when a gaze gesture stroke is performed towards the
left hemifield, the feedback should ideally be given on the left side of the body.
Participants’ comments in Kangas et al. (2016b) indicated that with spatially
congruent feedback it was easier to confirm that the stroke was performed
successfully even though analysis of task performance showed no statistically
significant differences between spatial and non-spatial conditions. The observed user
preference for spatially congruent feedback could be related to the role of visual and
tactile stimulation in spatial attention. Driver and Spence (1998) argue that tactile
stimulation of hand can draw visual attention to the location of the stimulation.
Following this notion, the location of vibrotactile feedback should be congruent with
the location of gaze point to avoid contradictory information between the senses. In
one of our studies (Köpsel et al., 2016), we presented vibrotactile feedback of gaze
gestures always on the palm of the left hand with four actuators while participants
performed four directional gaze gestures. As a result, participants had trouble
associating the gaze gestures with the stimulation they felt on their palm. It is possible
that the actuators were located too close to each other on the palm to be easily
distinguishable. Improved configurations could include increasing the space between
actuators on the palm, providing the feedback on the hand that executes the gesture
(e.g. via haptic glove), or even distributing the four actuators across the body (e.g.,
left and right hand) so that they would better match the directions of gaze movement.
6. Pay attention to the amplitude, duration, and rhythm of vibrotactile
stimulation because they can influence the effectiveness and user acceptance
of interaction.
The technical implementation of the feedback is a key factor to the success of
vibrotactile feedback. For example, in some tasks a discrete “tap” might be preferred
over a vibrating “buzz” (Majaranta et al., 2016). Stimulation amplitude should be set
based on the sensitivity of the body location and personal preferences to avoid
unpleasant feedback. For example, the neck is considered a sensitive area and fairly
low stimulation amplitudes should therefore be selected. If several vibrotactile
actuators are used together, sequential stimulation based on rhythmic variations is
easier to localize than stimulation of multiple locations at the same time (Chen et al.,
2003; Špakov et al., 2015). In terms of feedback duration, the optimal value depends
partly on the used feedback technology. We chose linear electromagnetic actuators for
our studies because they are easy to control, readily available and also simple to
attach to different wearable devices. With these actuators, we found 20-30 ms
stimulations to be suitable with gaze gestures that require short pulses if feedback
needs to be given and perceived already during the gesture. In dwell-based
interaction, longer feedback durations (e.g. 100 ms) may be tolerable (Majaranta et
al., 2016). Longer durations may also be needed in contexts where short taps may go
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7. Aim for a balance where necessary information is given via vibrotactile
stimulation without overburdening the feedback channel.
In general, it would be important to use vibrotactile feedback in situations where it
can provide objective or subjective benefits, but at the same time avoid overburdening
the channel. For example, with two-stroke gaze gestures, it may be enough to present
feedback of the first stroke to gain performance benefits. Furthermore, because too
frequent feedback can be perceived as annoying, it could also take attention away
from the main task (Witt, Lawo, & Drugge, 2008) or cause sensorial overload
(Popescu, Burdea, & Trefftz, 2002).
8. Out of multiple simultaneous vibrotactile stimuli the strongest dominates.
In those experiments that involved multiple simultaneous vibrotactile stimuli
(Rantala et al., 2014; Špakov et al., 2015), we noticed that the amplitude of the
vibration was critical to the sensation. For example, when all three actuators in the eye
glass frame were vibrating at the same time, it was very difficult to tell whether the
front actuator was running or not. The actuators behind the ears dominated the
sensation. If one of them was not in good contact with the skin it could feel as if only
one actuator was on. This tendency to focus attention to the strongest stimulus makes
feedback schemes that rely on multiple simultaneous signals very difficult to perceive
in practice. It is better to run the actuators in a sequence (Špakov et al., 2015). A
further benefit is that the sequences can encode additional information, for example
directional information, conveniently.
Our aim in this paper has been to inform the design of interfaces that combine
gaze interaction with vibrotactile feedback. Even with good knowledge of the
characteristics of the feedback modalities, it is always advisable to run user trials.
There may be unexpected effects, such as effects moderated by the task type and
workload (Burke et al., 2006). For example, even though we found vibrotactile
feedback to improve user performance and satisfaction when using gaze gestures to
control a mobile phone (Kangas et al., 2014b), in another study (Köpsel et al., 2016),
the added vibrotactile feedback did not bring any benefits. We believe the inconsistent
results are explained by the difference in the task difficulty as well as by the way the
vibrotactile feedback was implemented. In the former, the gaze gestures were simpler
and the feedback only confirmed the strokes. In the latter, the gestures represented
numbers and included more strokes, and the feedback also included information about
the stroke direction. Thus, it seems that in gaze interaction vibrotactile feedback
should ideally be used for communicating simple rather than abstract information.
There were a few limitations that need to be taken into account while generalizing
the results and insights presented in this paper. First, all the studies used vibrotactile
stimulation as the haptic feedback modality. Further research is required to understand
how our results will apply to other types of tactile stimulation, such as skin stretch or
pressure-based stimulations. Second, all the studies were of short durations and they
did not provide insights from a long-term use perspective. It would be interesting to
investigate if, for example, experienced gaze gesture users learn to maintain the
performance improvement initially provided by vibrotactile feedback even when
feedback is turned off. Third, our studies were conducted in controlled laboratory
environments. In a real-world scenario, mobility and other vibrations in the
environment could influence both gaze tracking accuracy and tactile perception.
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Further research is required to understand user preference and acceptance of the
combination of gaze and vibrotactile modalities in such situations.
We expect that the work presented in this review article will become increasingly
relevant in the near future due to active interest in pervasive eye tracking and mobile
eye-based interaction (Mardanbegi, Khamis, Jalaliniya, & Majaranta, 2016), eyewear
computing (Bulling & Kunze, 2016), head-mounted displays (e.g., Microsoft
), and gaze input in general (Hansen et al., 2015). At the same time, it is
important to highlight that wider adoption of eyewear and smart glasses requires that
social aspects, privacy, safety, reliability, and eye fatigue are properly addressed.
Participants may not want to use gaze input or visual feedback in all use contexts, and
therefore complementary modalities such as haptics could be used to convey
information (Akkil et al., 2016). One potential application area for combining haptic
and gaze interaction is navigation. Giannopoulos, Kiefer, and Raubal (2015) give an
example of how pedestrian navigation could benefit from the combined use of eye
tracking and vibrotactile feedback. In their application, a vibrating smartphone
notified users when looking at the correct route in a virtual reality environment. This
allowed users to verify where to navigate without having to look at their smart phone.
Further, Deng, Kirkby, Chang, and Zhang (2014) foresee many opportunities for
improved information presentation and better user engagement in serious games by
utilizing gaze tracking and haptics. Combining haptics and gaze could also be
beneficial in interpersonal communication. Qiu, Rauterberg, and Hu (2016) describe a
prototype that detected gazing at a (blindfolded) discussion partner and translated this
to vibrotactile stimulation felt by the partner. Their goal was to develop an interface
that could enhance the level of engagement in face-to-face communication for
visually impaired people. In conclusion, the number of recent studies on this topic
suggests that haptic gaze interaction is an emerging field of HCI.
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... The sensation of vibrotactile stimuli has been studied for a long time [1], and extensive research has clarified the type of sensations that can be designed using different vibration actuators [2], [3]. Recently vibrotactile perceptions under multimodality have garnered research interest [4], [5]. ...
... Smartphones have now become a necessity in our lives and are one of the most familiar vibration actuators. Vibrations emitted by smartphones can impart various meanings to the information that users obtain from the screen [5]. With the widespread use of smartphones, vibratory stimuli have become a part of our daily lives [6]; the usage environment of smartphones is entirely different from the ones assumed in previous studies. ...
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Vibrations emitted by smartphones have become a part of our daily lives. The vibrations can add various meanings to the information people obtain from the screen. Hence, it is worth understanding the perceptual transformation of vibration with ordinary devices to evaluate the possibility of enriched vibrotactile communication via smartphones. This study assessed the reproducibility of vibrotactile sensations via smartphone in the in-the-wild environment. To realize improved haptic design to communicate with smartphone users smoothly, we also focused on the moderation effects of the in-the-wild environments on the vibrotactile sensations: the physical specifications of mobile devices, the manner of device operation by users, and the personal traits of the users about the desire for touch. We conducted a Web-based in-the-wild experiment instead of a laboratory experiment to reproduce an environment as close to the daily lives of users as possible. Through a series of analyses, we revealed that users perceive the weight of vibration stimuli to be higher in sensation magnitude than intensity under identical conditions of vibration stimuli. We also showed that it is desirable to consider the moderation effects of the in-the-wild environments for realizing better tactile system design to maximize the impact of vibrotactile stimuli.
... Since the interaction via gaze gestures is usually facilitated without a graphical user interface, the related studies focus more on vibrotactile feedback (Rantala et al., 2020). It was found that the implementation of vibrotactile feedback can reduce response time as well as improve the user's subjective evaluation (Kangas et al., 2014). ...
We present an eye typing interface with one-point calibration, which is a two-stage design. The characters are clustered in groups of four characters. Users select a cluster by gazing at it in the first stage and then select the desired character by following its movement in the second stage. A user study was conducted to explore the impact of auditory and visual feedback on typing performance and user experience of this novel interface. Results show that participants can quickly learn how to use the system, and an average typing speed of 4.7 WPM can be reached without lengthy training. The subjective data of participants revealed that users preferred visual feedback over auditory feedback while using the interface. The user study indicates that this eye typing interface can be used for walk-up-and-use interactions, as it is easily understood and robust to eye-tracking inaccuracies. Potential areas of application, as well as possibilities for further improvements, are discussed.
... Activities where vibrotactile feedback is supported by experimental observations are posture correction (Bark et al., 2011;Ying and Morrell, 2010), rehabilitation training of the upper limb (Kapur et al., 2009), spatial guidance (Meier et al., 2015), aid for vestibular balance disorders (Sienko et at., 2013), gait (Crea et al., 2016), human-robot collaboration (Casalino et al., 2018), VR (Louison et al., 2015), AR (Zhu, Cao and Cai, 2020), prosthetics feedback (Chen, Feng and Wang 2016), and sports training (Alahakone and Senanayake, 2009). Additionally, it provides a discreet and private feedback channel that avoids stigmatizing gear setups (Rantala et al., 2017). ...
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Container lashers are at a significant risk of developing musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) when working at port facilities. Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) to the back, shoulders, wrists, and hands, in particular, are widespread. This work investigates the ability of a closed-loop vibrotactile motion guidance (VMG) system to teach an ergonomics-focused approach. The taught technique was developed for tensioning and loosening turnbuckles, an important step in container lashing. During five sessions, two groups, each with three participants, were observed. Participants' initial ability was tested in a baseline session. During this session, participants only receive auditory feedback. A VMG device is used to instruct the experimental group during the next three sessions. Traditional auditory feedback is used to teach the control group. Finally, neither group will wear the VMG device during the follow-up session. The findings of this study suggest that both VMG and auditory feedback training are effective training strategies for reducing postural error state (Wilcoxon Signed-Rank, p < 0.05). However, results suggest that VMG does not provide a significant error state reduction compared to auditory feedback training (Mann-Whitney, p > 0.05).
... In general, eye tracking can provide an unobtrusive way to observe, analyze and utilize a person's visual attention (Duchowski, 2017). Rantala et al. (2020) studied the temporal and spatial mechanisms between the combination of the gaze and tactile modalities, and found that tactile feedback performed equally well as both, visual and auditory feedback, to provide users with signals in an unobtrusive way. Moreover, Gkonos et al. (2017) combined a tactile belt with an eye tracker to provide pedestrians with navigation instructions. ...
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Contemporary aircraft cockpits rely mostly on audiovisual information propagation which can overwhelm particularly novice pilots. The introduction of tactile feedback, as a less taxed modality, can improve the usability in this case. As part of a within-subject simulator study, 22 participants are asked to fly a visual-flight-rule scenario along a predefined route and identify objects in the outside world that serve as waypoints. Participants fly two similar scenarios with and without a tactile belt that indicates the route. Results show that with the belt, participants perform better in identifying objects, have higher usability and user experience ratings, and a lower perceived cognitive workload, while showing no improvement in spatial awareness. Moreover, 86% of the participants state that they prefer flying with the tactile belt. These results suggest that a tactile belt provides pilots with an unobtrusive mode of assistance for tasks that require orientation using cues from the outside world.
... Recent development of low cost eye trackers has meant a significant expansion in the research on practical utilization of gaze in various kind of situations. Some practical use cases for eye tracking are, for example, 1) usability studies where the user's gaze behavior gives valuable information of which features the user is paying and not paying attention to (Jacob and Karn, 2003;Poole and Ball, 2006), 2) market research where gaze behavior is studied to learn what features in a product are noticed (Wedel and Pieters, 2008), and 3) as an input method for human-computer interfaces (Kangas et al., 2016;Morimoto and Mimica, 2005;Rantala et al., 2020). A special application area for gaze tracking has been setting up human-computer input methods for such disabled people who are unable to use other input technologies (Bates et al. (2007). ...
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Head mounted displays provide a good platform for viewing of immersive 360° or hemispheric images. A person can observe an image all around, just by turning his/her head and looking at different directions. The device also provides a highly useful tool for studying the observer’s gaze directions and head turns. We aimed to explore the interplay between participant’s head and gaze directions and collected head and gaze orientation data while participants were asked to view and study hemispheric images. In this exploration paper we show combined visualizations of both the head and gaze orientations and present two preliminary models of the relation between the gaze and the head orientations. We also show results of an analysis of the gaze and head behavior in relation to the given task/question.
... reduce Root Mean Square (RMS) of tilt angle [6] and Center of Pressure (CoP) [6], as well as percentage in time spent above threshold [7]. In contrast to the other mentioned modalities, vibrotactile biofeedback is unobtrusive, not distracting from other tasks [8] and not limiting other sensory organs (e.g. auditory or visual) [9]. ...
Conference Paper
Vibrotactile biofeedback can improve balance and consequently be helpful in fall prevention. However, it remains unclear how different types of stimulus presentations affect not only trunk tilt, but also Center of Pressure (CoP) displacements, and whether an instruction on how to move contributes to a better understanding of vibrotactile feedback.Based on lower back tilt angles (L5), we applied individualized multi-directional vibrotactile feedback to the upper torso by a haptic vest in 30 healthy young adults. Subjects were equally distributed to three instruction groups (attractive - move in the direction of feedback, repulsive - move in the opposite direction of feedback & no instruction - with attractive stimuli). We conducted four conditions with eyes closed (feedback on/off, Narrow Stance with head extended, Semi-Tandem stance), with seven trials of 45s each. For CoP and L5, we computed Root Mean Square (RMS) of position/angle and standard deviation (SD) of velocity, and for L5 additionally, the percentage in time above threshold. The analysis consisted of mixed model ANOVAs and t-tests (α-level: 0.05).In the attractive and repulsive groups feedback significantly decreased the percentage above threshold (p<0.05). Feedback decreased RMS of L5, whereas RMS of CoP and SD of velocity in L5 and COP increased (p<0.05). Finally, an instruction on how to move contributed to a better understanding of the vibrotactile biofeedback.
... The experiments presented in this work exclusively studied visual action effects since the most basic effect of each saccade lies in the visual perception of the post-saccadic object. Whether other reafferences of goal-oriented eye movements, for instance eye movements with vibrotactile (see Rantala et al., 2020, for a review and design guidelines of gaze interaction with vibrotactile feedback in human-computer interaction) or auditory feedback, might be used in a similar way to retrieve an action still needs to be tested. However, I propose that non-visual reafferences of action effects should principally also be capable of retrieving eye movements associated with generating the intended action effect. ...
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Humans use their eyes not only as visual input devices to perceive the environment, but also as an action tool in order to generate intended effects in their environment. For instance, glances are used to direct someone else's attention to a place of interest, indicating that gaze control is an important part of social communication. Previous research on gaze control in a social context mainly focused on the gaze recipient by asking how humans respond to perceived gaze (gaze cueing). So far, this perspective has hardly considered the actor’s point of view by neglecting to investigate what mental processes are involved when actors decide to perform an eye movement to trigger a gaze response in another person. Furthermore, eye movements are also used to affect the non-social environment, for instance when unlocking the smartphone with the help of the eyes. This and other observations demonstrate the necessity to consider gaze control in contexts other than social communication whilst at the same time focusing on commonalities and differences inherent to the nature of a social (vs. non-social) action context. Thus, the present work explores the cognitive mechanisms that control such goal-oriented eye movements in both social and non-social contexts. The experiments presented throughout this work are built on pre-established paradigms from both the oculomotor research domain and from basic cognitive psychology. These paradigms are based on the principle of ideomotor action control, which provides an explanatory framework for understanding how goal-oriented, intentional actions come into being. The ideomotor idea suggests that humans acquire associations between their actions and the resulting effects, which can be accessed in a bi-directional manner: Actions can trigger anticipations of their effects, but the anticipated resulting effects can also trigger the associated actions. According to ideomotor theory, action generation involves the mental anticipation of the intended effect (i.e., the action goal) to activate the associated motor pattern. The present experiments involve situations where participants control the gaze of a virtual face via their eye movements. The triggered gaze responses of the virtual face are consistent to the participant’s eye movements, representing visual action effects. Experimental situations are varied with respect to determinants of action-effect learning (e.g., contingency, contiguity, action mode during acquisition) in order to unravel the underlying dynamics of oculomotor control in these situations. In addition to faces, conditions involving changes in non-social objects were included to address the question of whether mechanisms underlying gaze control differ for social versus non-social context situations. The results of the present work can be summarized into three major findings. 1. My data suggest that humans indeed acquire bi-directional associations between their eye movements and the subsequently perceived gaze response of another person, which in turn affect oculomotor action control via the anticipation of the intended effects. The observed results show for the first time that eye movements in a gaze-interaction scenario are represented in terms of their gaze response in others. This observation is in line with the ideomotor theory of action control. 2. The present series of experiments confirms and extends pioneering results of Huestegge and Kreutzfeldt (2012) with respect to the significant influence of action effects in gaze control. I have shown that the results of Huestegge and Kreutzfeldt (2012) can be replicated across different contexts with different stimulus material given that the perceived action effects were sufficiently salient. 3. Furthermore, I could show that mechanisms of gaze control in a social gaze-interaction context do not appear to be qualitatively different from those in a non-social context. All in all, the results support recent theoretical claims emphasizing the role of anticipation-based action control in social interaction. Moreover, my results suggest that anticipation-based gaze control in a social context is based on the same general psychological mechanisms as ideomotor gaze control, and thus should be considered as an integral part rather than as a special form of ideomotor gaze control.
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Haptic technology that provides tactile sensation feedback by utilizing actuators to achieve the purpose of human–computer interaction is obtaining increasing applications in electronic devices. This review covers four kinds of electromechanical actuators useful for achieving haptic feedback: electromagnetic, electrostatic, piezoelectric, and electrostrictive actuators. The driving principles, working conditions, applicable scopes, and characteristics of the different actuators are fully compared. The designs and values of piezoelectric actuators to achieve sophisticated and high-definition haptic effect sensations are particularly highlighted. The current status and directions for future development of the different types of haptic actuators are discussed.
The fundamental problem for designing a gaze-based human-computer interaction is related to development of an effective method for activating graphical user interface elements by means of gaze only. Such a method should be easy for the user to apply, however at the same time, it requires eye movements that are clearly different from the natural behavior of the eye. We examined three methods of button activation by gaze, looking for the most effective way of gaze "clicking". These were: 1) the most standard method based on the use of dwell-time, 2) its modification based on detection of fixation located inside the buttons area and 3) and the most novel method based on gaze gestures consisting of movement into the button area and outward movement in the approximately opposite direction. We compared these gaze control methods under homogeneous conditions, which allows for a more reliable assessment of their relative usefulness. Two layouts of buttons were used: arranged on a grid, like on a telephone pad, and on a circle with an empty center. The experimental task was to enter a set of four-digit PINs using a set of gaze buttons corresponding to ten digits. A group of novices were instructed to use all the three methods and both button layouts (six experimental conditions). The activation methods were compared in terms of system usability, objectively measured by the PIN entry speed and the number of errors, as well as using a subjective SUS questionnaire. The system based on gaze gestures was worse in both measures; however, it had its followers. The method based on fixation detection instead of dwell-time did not significantly increase the entry speed due to the greater number of errors caused by non-intentional buttons activation. The circle layout turned out to be generally more convenient than the telephone pad layout.
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Gaze tracking technology is increasingly seen as a viable and practical input modality in a variety of everyday contexts, such as interacting with computers, mobile devices, public displays and wearables (e.g. smartglasses). We conducted an exploratory study consisting of six focus group sessions to understand people's expectations towards everyday gaze interaction on smartglasses. Our results provide novel insights into the role of use-context and social conventions regarding gaze behavior in acceptance of gaze interaction, various social and personal issues that need to be considered while designing gaze-based applications and user preferences of various gaze-based interaction techniques. Our results have many practical design implications and serve towards human-centric design and development of everyday gaze interaction technologies.
Conference Paper
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In a study with 12 participants we compared two smooth pursuit based widgets and one dwell time based widget in adjusting a continuous value. The circular smooth pursuit widget was found to be about equally efficient as the dwell based widget in our color matching task. The scroll bar shaped smooth pursuit widget exhibited lower performance and lower user ratings.
Conference Paper
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Previous work on eye tracking and eye-based human-computer interfaces mainly concentrated on making use of the eyes in traditional desktop settings. With the recent growth of interest in wearable computers, such as smartwatches, smart eyewears and low-cost mobile eye trackers, eye-based interaction techniques for mobile computing are becoming increasingly important. PETMEI 2016 focuses on the pervasive eye tracking paradigm as a trailblazer for mobile eye-based interaction to take eye tracking out into the wild, to mobile and pervasive settings. We want to stimulate and explore the creativity of these communities with respect to the implications, key research challenges, and new applications for pervasive eye tracking in ubiquitous computing. The long-term goal is to create a strong interdisciplinary research community linking these fields together and to establish the workshop as the premier forum for research on pervasive eye tracking.
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This paper addresses gaze interaction for smart home control, conducted from a wrist-worn unit. First we asked ten people to enact the gaze movements they would propose for e.g. opening a door or adjusting the room temperature. On basis of their suggestions we built and tested different versions of a prototype applying off-screen stroke input. Command prompts were given to twenty participants by text or arrow displays. The success rate achieved by the end of their first encounter with the system was 46% in average; it took them 1.28 seconds to connect with the system and 1.29 seconds to make a correct selection. Their subjective evaluations were positive with regard to the speed of the interaction. We conclude that gaze gesture input seems feasible for fast and brief remote control of smart home technology provided that robustness of tracking is improved.
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Gaze signals, frequently used by the sighted in social interactions as visual cues, are hardly accessible for low-vision and blind people. A concept is proposed to help the blind people access and react to gaze signals in face-to-face communication. 20 blind and low-vision participants were interviewed to discuss the features of this concept. One feature of the concept is further developed into a prototype, namely Tactile Band, to aim at testing the hypothesis that tactile feedback can enable the blind person to feel attention (gaze signals) from the sighted, enhancing the level of engagement in face-to-face communication. We tested our hypothesis with 30 participants with a face-to-face conversation scenario, in which the blindfolded and the sighted participants talked about a given daily topic. Comments from the participants and the reflection on the experiment provided useful insights for improvements and further research.
Conference Paper
Larger tablet computers are not always easy to use in handheld configurations. Gaze input and especially gaze gestures provide an alternative input technology in such situations. We investigated the task performance and user experience in gaze gesture use when haptic feedback was provided either to fingers touching the tablet or behind the ears through the eyeglass frame. The participant’s task was to look at a display and complete simple two-stroke gaze gestures consisting of either one, two, or three repetitions. The results showed that the participants found feedback on both body locations to be equally pleasant and preferred haptic feedback to no feedback. Also, the participants favored feedback that was spatially congruent with gaze movement.
Modern interaction techniques like non-intrusive gestures provide means for interacting with distant displays and smart objects without touching them. We were interested in the effects of feedback modality (auditory, haptic or visual) and its combined effect with input modality on user performance and experience in such interactions. Therefore, we conducted two exploratory experiments where numbers were entered, either by gaze or hand, using gestures composed of four stroke elements (up, down, left and right). In Experiment 1, a simple feedback was given on each stroke during the motor action of gesturing: an audible click, a haptic tap or a visual flash. In Experiment 2, a semantic feedback was given on the final gesture: the executed number was spoken, coded by haptic taps or shown as text. With simultaneous simple feedback in Experiment 1, performance with hand input was slower but more accurate than with gaze input. With semantic feedback in Experiment 2, however, hand input was only slower. Effects of feedback modality were of minor importance; nevertheless, semantic haptic feedback in Experiment 2 showed to be useless at least without extensive training. Error patterns differed between both input modes, but again not dependent on feedback modality. Taken together, the results show that in designing gestural systems, choosing a feedback modality can be given a low priority; it can be chosen according to the task, context and user preferences.