Abstract

Interacting with mobile devices using touch can lead to fingers occluding valuable screen real estate. For the smallest devices, the idea of using a touch-enabled display is almost wholly impractical. In this paper we investigate sensing user touch around small screens like these. We describe a prototype device with infra-red (IR) proximity sensors embedded along each side and capable of detecting the presence and position of fingers in the adjacent regions. When this device is rested on a flat surface, such as a table or desk, the user can carry out single and multi-touch gestures using the space around the device. This gives a larger input space than would otherwise be possible which may be used in conjunction with or instead of on-display touch input. Following a detailed description of our prototype, we discuss some of the interactions it affords.