Direct Manipulation and the Third Dimension

Recent advances in touch and display technologies are supporting a wide-spread use of touch-based direct manipulation techniques as well as 3D displays that give a perspectively correct view. Both techniques have consistency constraints including the following: With direct manipulation, a dragged object should stick to the finger tip. With viewer centered projection, head movement should update the scene’s projection to preserve a sound 3D impression, e.g., leaning around a house should reveal its backyard. Unfortunately, these two contradict each other, making a combination, e.g., moving the head while touching or dragging an object, non-trivial.

We introduce a design space of perspectively adjusted methods for direct manipulation to cope with this limitation, select nine different strategies from it, and evaluate six of them in depth. Participants dragged a box through a 3D maze with multiple, partially occluded levels. We identified one method to be among the fastest while yielding up to 32% less collisions than the other fast methods.

The Team

This is a research project of Max Möllers and Patrick Zimmer from the Media Computing Group.



  • Max Möllers, Patrick Zimmer and Jan Borchers. Direct Manipulation and the Third Dimension: Co-Planar Dragging on 3D Displays.  In ITS '12: Proceedings of the 2012 ACM international conference on Interactive tabletops and surfaces,  In Proceedings of ITS2012, ITS '12, pages 11–20, ACM, New York, NY, USA, Nov 2012.
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  • Max Möllers, Patrick Zimmer and Jan Borchers. Direct Manipulation and the Third Dimension: A Design Space for Co-Planar Dragging on 3D Displays.  In CHI '12: Extended Abstracts of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems,Austin, USA, May 2012.
    BibTeX Entry

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