Publication: Distant Pointing in Desktop Collaborative Virtual Environments

Deictic pointing--pointing at things during conversations--is natural and ubiquitous in human communication. Deictic pointing is important in the real world; it is also important in collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) because CVEs are 3D virtual environments that resemble the real world. CVEs connect people from different locations, allowing them to communicate and collaborate remotely. However, the interaction and communication capabilities of CVEs are not as good as those in the real world. In CVEs, people interact with each other using avatars (the visual representations of users). One problem of avatars is that they are not expressive enough when compare to what we can do in the real world. In particular, deictic pointing has many limitations and is not well supported. This dissertation focuses on improving the expressiveness of distant pointing--where referents are out of reach--in desktop CVEs. This is done by developing a framework that guides the design and development of pointing techniques; by identifying important aspects of distant pointing through observation of how people point at distant referents in the real world; by designing, implementing, and evaluating distant-pointing techniques; and by providing a set of guidelines for the design of distant pointing in desktop CVEs. The evaluations of distant-pointing techniques examine whether pointing without extra visual effects (natural pointing) has sufficient accuracy; whether people can control free arm movement (free pointing) along with other avatar actions; and whether free and natural pointing are useful and valuable in desktop CVEs. Overall, this research provides better support for deictic pointing in CVEs by improving the expressiveness of distant pointing. With better pointing support, gestural communication can be more effective and can ultimately enhance the primary function of CVEs--supporting distributed collaboration.




Nelson Wong
University of Saskatchewan


Wong, N. 2013. Distant Pointing in Desktop Collaborative Virtual Environments. Ph.D. Dissertation, Saskatoon, SK. University of Saskatchewan.


@phdthesis {314-WONG-DISSERTATION,
author= {Nelson Wong},
title= {Distant Pointing in Desktop Collaborative Virtual Environments},
year= {2013},
address= {Saskatoon, SK},
school= {University of Saskatchewan},
note= {}