Non-speech sounds have already gained interest of the researchers in the HCI community when used in the data sonification and acoustic user interface design, usually as a tool of data presentation. Their complementary role, the use for data input and user interface control by the users who produce them, has been until recently ignored. In the current literature, the use of non-speech sounds has been investigated only in solitaire instances, such as their use to control a particular game or input device.

In our recent work, we have demonstrated, that in different scenarios, such as emulation of the mouse device or keyboard, the use of non-speech sounds may successfully compete with other assistive techniques and technologies that allow the motor impaired users to carry out tasks on a standard PC. The non-speech sound input is thus an inexpensive alternative to various costly an uncomfortable systems, such as sip-and-puff controllers or eye trackers. As opposed to the speech recognition techniques, the non-speech sounds may be used by the users with speech difficulties and are language- and culture-independent.

This thesis focuses on the control by pitch of the tone. A novel method of the measurement of the comfortable pitch range is suggested. Two methods elementary for accomplishing 1D-pointing tasks are evaluated in a user study: Pointing by means of the absolute pitch tone and pointing by means of acoustic gestures making use of relative tone. Further on, a method for the mouse cursor control is suggested and evaluated in a longitudinal study. The last chapter of this thesis focuses on the use of the pitch control in the computer games.

This document demonstrates that the non-speech sounds are a feasible input channel for various applications, especially where a rapid response of the user interface is expected and required, including mouse cursor and video games control.

Full Thesis:
Download Adam J. Sporka’s Full Thesis

Thesis Advisor:
Prof. Pavel Slavik, CSc

Award Date:
October 1, 2008

Czech Technical University in Prague
Prague, Czech Republic

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