My name is Oskar Palinko. I’m a grad student at UNH. For some time now, I have been working on a wireless glove push-to-talk interface for Project54. I inserted push-buttons into the fabric of a glove, under the fingertips of the index finger and the thumb. These buttons activate an RF remote controller (AirClick) which triggers the speech user interface of P54 to listen to the operator.
We supposed that this design could help the driver issue commands more easily and more efficiently than with the standard PTT button that is fixed to the crossbar of the steering wheel. The main problem with the old design is that the push-button drifts away from the fingertips of the driver whenever taking a turn, driving in a sharp curve or during any other maneuver that needs the steering wheel to be turned more than +/-90 degrees from its straight position. These situations occur most often when driving in a city.
We designed and conducted a pilot study to examine if the drivers, when allowed, would like to use the whole steering wheel as a push-to-talk surface, instead of clicking only at a certain place. The glove allows this freedom, because the PTT button is always under the fingertips. The subjects were fellow grad students at the project.
The study proved that on average, the drivers preferred the new method of entry and that they tend to use the glove PTT buttons at various angles on the surface of the steering wheel. The pilot, however, did not show statistical significance to prove that using the glove would be a safer way of PTT operation (measured by the steering wheel and lane position variance).
A short paper and a poster were submitted to the 2007 Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST2007). Unfortunately they were not accepted. You can view the accompanying video below:
Further experiments will be performed with a larger, non-Project54 population. Hopefully, the new data will allow us to improve our understanding of different modes of user interaction.