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i’sFree: Eyes-Free Gesture Typing via a Touch-Enabled Remote Control

Suwen Zhu
Xiaojun Bi
Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 448:1-448:12 (to appear)


Entering text without having to pay attention to the keyboard is compelling but challenging due to the lack of visual guidance. We propose i'sFree to enable eyes-free gesture typing on a distant display from a touch-enabled remote control. i'sFree does not display the keyboard or gesture trace but decodes gestures drawn on the remote control into text according to an invisible and shifting Qwerty layout. i'sFree decodes gestures similar to a general gesture typing decoder, but learns from the instantaneous and historical input gestures to dynamically adjust the keyboard location. We designed it based on the understanding of how users perform eyes-free gesture typing. Our evaluation shows eyes-free gesture typing is feasible: reducing visual guidance on the distant display hardly affects the typing speed. Results also show that the i’sFree gesture decoding algorithm is effective, enabling an input speed of 23 WPM, 46% faster than the baseline eyes-free condition built on a general gesture decoder. Finally, i'sFree is easy to learn: participants reached 22 WPM in the first ten minutes, even though 40% of them were first-time gesture typing users.