Proceedings: GI 2005

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

Karen Parker , Regan Mandryk , Kori Inkpen

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2005: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 9 - 11 May 2005, 33-40

DOI 10.20380/GI2005.05

  • Bibtex

    author = {Parker, Karen and Mandryk, Regan and Inkpen, Kori},
    title = {TractorBeam: seamless integration of local and remote pointing for tabletop displays},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2005},
    series = {GI 2005},
    year = {2005},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {1-56881-265-5},
    location = {Victoria, British Columbia, Canada},
    pages = {33--40},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2005.05},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada},


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. We conducted two user studies to evaluate remote pointing on tabletop displays. Results from our work demonstrate that remote pointing is faster than stylus 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 stylus 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.