Using Shear as a Supplemental Input Channel for Rich Touchscreen Interaction

Touch input is constrained, typically only providing finger X/Y coordinates. To access and switch between different functions, valuable screen real estate must be allocated to buttons and menus, or users must perform special actions, such as touch-and-hold, double tap, or multi-finger chords. Even still, this only adds a few bits of additional information, leaving touch interaction unwieldy for many tasks. In this work, we suggest using a largely unutilized touch input dimension: shear (force tangential to a screen’s surface). Similar to pressure, shear can be used in concert with conventional finger positional input. However, unlike pressure, shear provides a rich, analog 2D input space, which has many powerful uses. We put forward five classes of advanced interaction that considerably expands the envelope of interaction possible on touchscreens.



Harrison, C., and Hudson, S. E. 2012. Using Shear as a Supplemental Two-Dimensional Input Channel for Rich Touchscreen Interaction. In Proceedings of the 30th Annual SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Austin, Texas, May 5 - 10, 2012). CHI '12. ACM, New York, NY. 3149-3152.


© Chris Harrison