The Vacuum

Validation level: 5. CHI, UIST, CSCW and TOCHI paper publication

The vacuum is a circular widget with a user-controllable arc of influence that is centered at the widget’s point of invocation and spans out to the edges of the display. Users can adjust the angle to easily reach the proxies of all objects within the arc’s influence.

Copy Bibtex Bezerianos, A. and Balakrishnan, R. The Vacuum: Facilitating the Manipulation of Distant Objects. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 361-370, ACM, New York, NY, USA, CHI '05 , 2005.
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Storyboard of Functions

As with drag and-pop/pick, a within-arm’s-reach buffer zone is defined around the widget such that only objects outside that zone are under the influence of the vacuum. This allows nearby objects to be manipulated without proxies and reduces the total number of proxies that have to be brought to the user.

User can use mouse movement to define which area they want to choose with the Vacuum.

Moving the cursor within the bull's eye can adjust the arc continuously.

To prevent abrupt or accidental dismissal of the vacuum, we visually render the vacuum with increasing transparency as the pen’s distance off the surface increases, as feedback to the user to indicate that the hover threshold is about to be reached. When the pen reaches the hover threshold, a simple “popping” animation indicates dismissal of the vacuum.