Rotation Techniques for 3D Object Interaction on Mobile Devices
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Recent technological advances of high-end mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have paved the way for an increasing number of games, virtual reality environments and visualization systems, specifically tailored for the mobile device platform. However, 3D interaction techniques that complement the above 3D mobile applications, by providing a smooth and natural control mechanism have been largely neglected. This work extends traditional desktop rotation techniques that are based on the virtual trackball metaphor by accommodating them to the restrictions and functionalities of mobile devices. Instead of a typical setting involving a mouse and output monitor, users are able to interact directly with a 3D object by making simple finger gestures such as dragging or sliding on the display screen of the mobile device. The main goal of this study is to provide an efficient and intuitive rotation technique for 3D object interaction on mobile devices capable of conveying important structural and semantic information about a 3D object. Different device-interaction styles, based on the combination of device orientation modes (landscape/portrait) and number of hands used (one/two-handed interaction) play an important role in user involvement. The investigated rotation techniques along with the subsequent device-interaction styles are compared, in an empirical study, in terms of performance and accuracy with respect to a multitude of rotation tasks. The results of this study indicate that 3D object interaction on mobile devices can greatly benefit from the use of appropriate rotation techniques. Rotation techniques that generate predictable rotation patterns perform better and are rated higher by users than rotation techniques that generate transitive rotations.