Human Performance in 6 Degree-of-Freedom Input Control

Shumin Zhai, IBM Almaden Research Laboratory

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University November 8, 1996


Six degree-of-freedom (6 DOF) manipulation is needed in many applications such as interactive 3D computer graphics, CAD, data visualization, virtual reality and teleoperation. Various types of input control devices have been made available to address such needs. A review of a large body of literature, however, indicated that little systematic human factors knowledge has been available to guide the design and selection of 6 DOF control devices. This talk reviews the intellectual history of input control research and presents a series of experimental studies on human performance in relation to the following dimensions of 6DOF input control:

The experimental results will be discussed in light of the literature in human computer interaction, human motor behavior and engineering psychology.


Shumin Zhai received his PhD degree in Human Factors Engineering at the University of Toronto. After receiving his Master's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1984, he served on the faculty of the Northwest Telecommunication Engineering Institute in Xi'an, China where he taught and conducted research in computer control systems till 1989. Shumin Zhai has done a variety of HCI research in the areas of computer input devices, virtual and augmented reality, 3D computer graphics, stereoscopic display, telerobotics, and graphical user interfaces. He is currently a Research Staff Member at the IBM Almaden Research Center where he continues to conduct experimental research on interactive computing systems.


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