This dissertation presents the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel pointer-based and gesture-based interaction techniques for multi-display environments (MDEs). These techniques transcend the constraints of a single display, allowing users to combine multiple displays and interaction devices in order to benefit from the advantages of each. First, we introduce a set of pointer warping techniques, which improve existing mouse pointer interaction in an MDE, by allowing users to instantaneously relocate the cursor to an adjacent display, instead of traversing the bezel. Formal evaluations show significant improvements in user performance when compared to standard mouse behavior.
Next, we focus on a particular kind of MDE, in which 3D head-worn augmented reality displays are combined with handheld and stationary displays to form a hybrid MDE. A key benefit of hybrid MDEs is that they integrate and utilize the 3D space in which the 2D displays are embedded, creating a seamless visualization environment. We describe the development of a complex hybrid MDE system, called Visual Interaction Tool for Archaeology (VITA), which allows for collaborative off-site analysis of archaeological excavation data by distributing the presentation of data among several head-worn, handheld, projected tabletop, and large high-resolution displays. Finally, inspired by the lack of freehand interactions for hybrid MDEs, we designed gestural techniques that address the important issues of interacting across and within 2D and 3D displays. First, we present a set of Cross-Dimensional Gestures, which facilitate transitioning and associating the data between devices, displays, and dimensionalities, by synchronizing the recognition of gestures between a 2D multi-touch–sensitive projected display and a tracked 3D finger-bend sensor glove. Second, we describe a set of Dual Finger Selection techniques that allow for precise and accurate selection of small targets within 2D displays, by exploiting the multi-touch capabilities of a tabletop surface.
Third, we present the Balloon Selection technique, which is three times more accurate than standard wand-based selection when selecting small 3D objects above a tabletop surface. Balloon Selection decouples the 3DOF selection task into a 2DOF task and a 1DOF task, while grounding the user’s hands on a touch-sensitive tabletop surface.