TractorBeam: Seamless integration of local and remote pointing for tabletop displays


J. Karen Parker
Regan L. Mandryk
Kori M. Inkpen

Author Addresses: 

Faculty of Computer Science
Dalhousie University
6050 University Ave.
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
B3H 4R2


This paper presents a novel interaction technique for tabletop computer displays. When using a direct input device such as a stylus, reaching objects on the far side of a table is difficult. While remote pointing has been investigated for large wall displays, there has been no similar research into reaching distant objects on tabletop displays. Augmenting a stylus to allow remote pointing may facilitate this process. Results from our work demonstrate that remote pointing is faster than touch input for large targets, slower for small distant targets, and comparable in all other cases. In addition, when given a choice, people utilized the pointing interaction technique more often than direct touch. Based on these results we developed the TractorBeam, a hybrid point-touch input technique that allows users to seamlessly reach distant objects on tabletop displays.

Tech Report Number: 
Report Date: 
September 13, 2004
PDF icon CS-2004-09.pdf408.64 KB