Non-verbal gestures are a rich source of communication,
especially in tasks involving spatial concepts. When teams
working on a common task are separated geographically, the
information in gestures is lost. However, there are many
ways to convey gestures over distance to make up for this
loss. In a simple shared collaborative software tool,
cursors can be used to exchange simple gestures. It is also
possible to increase the richness of information exchanged
by sharing hand images of the participants to each other.
One of the questions this thesis aims to answer is whether
hand images are necessary at all or if a simple cursor
would be sufficient. This thesis describes the development
and evaluation of software for collaborative drawing, in
which two users in multiple locations can connect and draw
using a simple drawing tool. They will share the same drawing screen but have separate cursors. A table top touch
screen was set up for the experiment. The evaluation of the
software was based on comparing collaboration for a spatial
design/drawing when users collaborate by three different
methods: face-to-face, virtual sketching, and virtual
sketching with the hand gestures of the virtual collaborators projected on the drawing surface. Two tools were created for this work- one for virtual sketching and
the other for virtual sketching that enables sharing of
hand gestures. The results indicated that users’
performance in the face-to-face collaboration was almost
identical to virtual collaboration with hand images.
Virtual collaboration without hand images was significantly
more difficult. These results suggest that rich hand
gestures conveyed with the hands in face-to-face settings
is important in joint spatial tasks; their loss reduces
effectiveness in virtual collaboration on such tasks.
However, the addition of hand images projected on a joint
work surface can restore effectiveness to levels similar to that of face-to-face collaboration. A robust setup of the
software enabling transfer of rich hand gestures could be
used where in getting all team members to a single
geographical location for a meeting might be time
consuming, expensively or simply impossible.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. May 2011. Major: Industrial and sytems engineering. Advisor: Dr. Caroline C. Hayes. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 80 pages.
Cornelius, Caroline Joyce.
Development and evaluation of gesture rich collaborative drawing tools..
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