UbiMice: a fluid interaction model for multicomputer workspace

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University of Alabama Libraries

Nowadays it is not uncommon for people to have multiple computers in a workspace. A multicomputer workspace favors a user to perform multiple various tasks. At the same time, there is a short of fluid interaction model for this workspace while excessive mice and keyboards that are adjacent to multiple computers bring chaos to the workspace causing a cluttered desktop. A user has to switch back and forth to interact with different workstations. Furthermore, information is often needed to be exchanged among computers every now and then. For information to cross the boundary between two computers, several technologies such as file sharing have already been developed. However, these technologies incommode hands to move between different keyboards and/or mice, which are interruptive. This dissertation proposes a fluid interaction model called UbiMice for the multicomputer workspace to address these issues. In the UbiMice model, co-located computers form a multicomputer workspace. A user needs only one set of input devices to interact with any computer in the workspace. This eradicates gaps of operating multiple input devices and eliminates desktop clutter brought by nimiety keyboards and mice. An interacting focus is represented by a cursor. The cursor can move from computer to computer, interact with any computer, and carry information among the computers. This proposed model also allows multiple cursors used by multiple users simultaneously for collaborative working. A security mechanism is also provided with the model to protect information from unauthorized access in the multi-user case. The UbiMice model enables to build a seamless workspace from multiple computers. Traditional input devices are augmented with the capability of serving multiple computers. Users can interact with the workspace intuitively as if they were interacting with a single computer. This dissertation will study the architecture of UbiMice model together with a proof-of-concept implementation. The model finds many novel applications in different settings and benefits a wide range of user groups.

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Computer science