Large Multi-Touch Vertical Displays in Multi-User Competitive Tasks

The interface of the second toy example. A pressure on an image on the sidebar displays the image on the central container.

Authors: Tantillo, D.

Publication: Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Computer Science, Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago

People are generally enthusiastic of innovative technologies. One of the most important witnesses of this enthusiasm is the reaction of the audience in the iPhone 2007 Steve Jobs presentation when he showed the pinch gesture to zoom . People literally said ‘wow’ and after a while clapped, completely fascinated by what they were seeing. LVDs or compositions of them are one of these technologies that people appreciated in the past and continue to appreciate in the current days. Just imagine how in living rooms the televisions are becoming every year larger. Also in office desks are present larger monitors or more of them side by side used in order to increase the number of open program windows.

The main characteristics of LVDs are a ratio where the horizontal dimension is three or four times the vertical one, and the width that is at least three meters. These dimensions make very inefficient their usage in everyday tasks, or at least using it through applications developed for a normal desktop pc. Nevertheless, many fields start to have a strong interest in this kind of device. Companies had an interest on employing them for meetings or presentation to customers. Studies understood how their huge resolution was potentially able to show an enormous quantity of information in a more efficient way with respect to all the methods used in the past. A map is an interesting example of the higher efficiency of LVDs; a high-resolution map fits better in a display with very high resolution. Many scientists can simultaneously analyze the map, and easily discuss about points of the map having these points in front of themselves.

The efficiency of the scientists&srquo; actions may be further increased by the introduction of a system that allows the scientists to directly manipulate with their hands and fingers what they are observing. Here comes the need of a LVD with multi-touch capabilities. Such a feature, in addition to being fascinating and attracting, increases enormously the degrees of freedom of the interaction between the human and the LVD. Another interesting example useful to appreciate the potential usefulness of this device is a group of scientists during the analysis of a molecule model. The bigger size of a molecule model on a LVD and the possibility to rotate and zoom the model aid scientists on their analysis and discussions.

LVDs are a technology relatively new that bring numerous challenges together with their potentiality. Adding multi-touch interaction increases the number of the previous challenges that computer scientists and developers have to tackle and to find a solution for. Some of these challenges are related to:
- Input Detection: how users should interact with the display, which is the most efficient input device to interact with the display among single mouse, multiple mice, single-touch, multi-touch, pointer, if input devices influence the user collaboration;
- Human Interaction: how the usage of a normal operating system is comfortable on an LVD, how users dispose windows, how users exploit the display space and if there are less used area, how the position of the users with respect to the LVDs influences the previous factors, how users collaborate in a shared context;
- Data Visualization: how to show data and information, how to interact, navigate, consume and produce data;
- Application Context: in which context applications have to live, so if an application has to be a normal operating system program or if has to live in a dedicated context;
- Application Development: how to organize an application interface for this large resolution, which are the guidelines to follow for LVD application development, if the normal desktop application development has the same characteristics of LVD application development, if there are specific library dedicated to application for LVD.

The past and current research is directed mainly towards the first three points of the previous list. Data visualization on LVDs is probably the most researched field of the previous points. Different techniques dedicated to different kind of data can be employed to allow users to consume more effi- ciently the information. There is much research also in the human-interaction field with these devices that generated a interesting conclusions. However, these conclusions are somewhat sparse, sometimes divergent and consequently it is difficult to exploit efficiently the information. This is a clear symptom that LVDs are still a very young study subject and much effort has still to be done in order to create a consistent literature. The same phenomenon is observable for input detection for LVDs, even though there are less studies on this direction.

Instead, the research seems to be absent for the application context and the application development for LVDs. There are no directives or guidelines suggesting how to develop applications for very large and high resolution displays. This consequently leads developer to create a dedicated solution for each problem. Moreover, there are not any dedicated software environment to them. There are some attempts on making browsers the main container for LVD applications . In fact, internet page interfaces can be adapted to whatever resolution without a big effort. However there are no common ways or guidelines to organize an interface or create functions for LVD applications, and every small piece has to be created from scratch by the developer.

In this thesis we will focus on the human interaction with LVDs.

Date: August 15, 2016

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