Intimate Interfaces in Action: Assessing the Usability and Subtlety of EMG-based Motionless Gestures
Mobile communication devices, such as mobile phones and networked personal digital assistants (PDAs), allow users to be constantly connected and communicate anywhere and at any time, often resulting in personal and private communication taking place in public spaces. This private - public contrast can be problematic. As a remedy, we promote intimate interfaces: interfaces that allow subtle and minimal mobile interaction, without disruption of the Surrounding environment. In particular, motionless gestures sensed through the electromyographic (EMG) signal have been proposed as a solution to allow subtle input in a mobile context. In this paper we present an expansion of the work on EMG-based motionless gestures including (1) a novel study of their usability in a mobile context for controlling a realistic, multimodal interface and (2) a formal assessment of how noticeable they are to informed observers. Experimental results confirm that subtle gestures can be profitably used within a multimodal interface and that it is difficult for observers to guess when someone is performing a gesture, confirming the hypothesis of subtlety.