One Dimensional Interface for Improved Computer Access

Period of Performance: 09/30/2004 - 07/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Applied Human Factors, Inc.
San Antonio, TX 78238
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Physically disabled computer users unable to accurately control a mouse or other pointer cannot perform routine computer operations and cannot fully exploit many assistive software programs such as on-screen keyboards and speech augmentation programs. Such users often must use scanning input strategies (e.g., waiting for an option to be presented and then using a switch to select it). While recent advances have improved accessibility and speed for persons using scanning, it remains a very slow and tedious method. Operating a conventional pointer requires the user to concurrently control the cursor's location in two independent dimensions. The proposed research includes two experiments designed to determine the usefulness and feasibility of developing a pointing strategy that conceptually and functionally falls between operating a pointer and operating a single switch. Specifically, it is proposed that there are disabled users who could operate and benefit from a single dimensional pointing interface, especially when operation of that pointer is controlled by a behavior known to compliment the user's abilities. Such an interface also provides an opportunity to search for a variety of new input behaviors including novel motor responses and behaviors not directly observable (e.g., as measured by EEG, EMG, and other electrophysiological transducers).