HCC:Medium: A toolkit to Evaluate the Effect of Multitouch Interaction on the Musculoskeletal System and Design Safe Multitouch Systems

Project: Research project

Project Details


Technologists have heralded multitouch interaction as the technology to drive computing systems into the future. However, as we move towards a world where interaction is based on human body movements that are not well documented or studied, we face a serious and a grave risk of creating technology and systems that may lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This is a real danger: many of the developed systems have no considerations on eliminating gestures that are known to lead to musculoskeletal disorders or eliminate gestures that are symptomatic of a patient population. In the past, devices such as keyboards have led to MSDs. It is critical that good design practices incorporating preventive approaches be implemented in initial stages of product design and development. Multitouch interfaces are currently in initial stages of adoption by companies and academia and, hence, it is timely to conduct research that (a) evaluates the effect of multitouch interaction on the musculoskeletal system and (b) provides mechanisms for developing safe multitouch systems that involve interactions designed to cause the least musculoskeletal stress and risk. This research aims to develop best practices and standards for interaction that are safe and cause minimal stress and yet allow users to fully benefit from the new levels of immersiveness that multitouch interaction facilitates. We aim to achieve this goal by development of a toolkit that will allow multitouch designers to input a gesture movement and evaluate its induced stress in a variety of situations and under different variables. In addition, the software will allow input of formal definitions of HCI tasks and some choices of gestures and suggest a set of suitable gestures for the task from the given choices. An interdisciplinary team of human computer interaction researchers, kinesiologists and ergonomic experts from Arizona State University and Harvard University will conduct the research.
Effective start/end date4/1/1010/31/12


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $572,455.00


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