Text Entry From Power Wheelchairs: EdgeWrite for Joysticks and Touchpads

1) Jacob O. Wobbrock, Brad A. Myers, Htet Htet Aung, and 2) Edmund F. LoPresti 2


1) Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
2) A.T. Sciences, Inc., Pittsburgh, USA


Power wheelchair joysticks have been used to control a mouse cursor on desktop computers, but they offer no integrated text entry solution, confining users to point-and-click or point-and-dwell with on-screen keyboards. But on-screen keyboards reduce useful screen real-estate, exacerbate the need for frequent window management, and impose a second focus of attention. By contrast, we present two integrated gestural text entry methods designed for use from power wheelchairs: one for joysticks and the other for touchpads. Both techniques are adaptations of EdgeWrite, originally a stylus-based unistroke method designed for people with tremor. In a preliminary study of 7 power wheelchair users, we found that touchpad EdgeWrite was faster than joystick WiVik, and joystick EdgeWrite was only slightly slower after minimal practice. These findings reflect “walk up and use”-ability and warrant further investigation into extended use.

Full Paper:
Download Full Paper Here