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Bootstrapping User-Defined Body Tapping Recognition with Offline-Learned Probabilistic Representation

Xiang ‘Anthony’ Chen
Yang Li
UIST 2016
Google Scholar


To address the increasing functionality (or information) overload of smartphones, prior research has explored a variety of methods to extend the input vocabulary of mobile devices. In particular, body tapping has been previously proposed as a technique that allows the user to quickly access a target functionality by simply tapping at a specific location of the body with a smartphone. Though compelling, prior work often fell short in enabling users’ unconstrained tapping locations or behaviors. To address this problem, we developed a novel recognition method that combines both offline—before the system sees any user-defined gestures—and online learning to reliably recognize arbitrary, user-defined body tapping gestures, only using a smartphone’s built-in sensors. Our experiment indicates that our method significantly outperforms baseline approaches in several usage conditions. In particular, provided only with a single sample per location, our accuracy is 30.8% over an SVM baseline and 24.8% over a template matching method. Based on these findings, we discuss how our approach can be generalized to other user-defined gesture problems.