Anders Markussen wins CHI2014 Best Paper Award – University of Copenhagen

21 March 2014

Anders Markussen wins CHI2014 Best Paper Award

CHI2014, Vulture

"Vulture: A Mid-Air Word-Gesture Keyboard" by Anders Markussen received a CHI2014 Best Paper Award, making it part of the top 1% of more than 3000 submissions to the premier conference in human computer interaction.

Large interactive displays have become an integrated part of our everyday lives. Whether at home, at work or in a public place, large displays are starting to appear everywhere. While the displays allow for interactive content, the interaction techniques are still lacking behind. Especially typing text on these interactive displays is challenging. This work explores how text entry is possible by drawing the words as gestures in the air in front of the user. This relieves the user of the need to use a physical keyboard or to interact using a touch screen keyboard.

The work can prove valuable in many different context. Amongst others, doctors could be able to interact with computers during operations without jeopardizing the health and safety of patients.


Word-gesture keyboards enable fast text entry by letting users draw the shape of a word on the input surface. Such keyboards have been used extensively for touch devices, but not in mid-air, even though their fluent gestural input seems well suited for this modality. We present Vulture, a word-gesture keyboard for mid-air operation. Vulture adapts touch based word-gesture algorithms to work in midair, projects users’ movement onto the display, and uses pinch as a word delimiter. A first 10-session study suggests text-entry rates of 20.6 Words Per Minute (WPM) and finds hand-movement speed to be the primary predictor of WPM. A second study shows that with training on a few phrases, participants do 28.1 WPM, 59% of the text-entry rate of direct touch input. Participants’ recall of trained gestures in mid-air was low, suggesting that visual feedback is important but also limits performance. Based on data from the studies, we discuss improvements to Vulture and some alternative designs for mid-air text entry.

Below is shown a video about Vulture.