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PointerGlide - Pointing by flying

Master-level internship at in|situ|

Advisor: Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, with Stéphane Huot and Pierre Dragicevic


The goal of the internship is to study a new pointing technique that reduces clutching.


As screens become larger, pointing with a mouse or a touchpad requires more and more clutching: as the mouse or fingers reach the border of the input area, the users has to reposition the hand to the other side of the input area to continue the movement.

A similar problem occurs when scrolling large documents on a touch-enabled device. The solution then is to use inertial scrolling, so that the document keeps scrolling while the user is clutching.

The goal of this internship is to apply the same approach to the cursor when pointing with a trackpad: when the user lifts the fingers to clutch, the cursor, rather than stopping, continues to move as if it had inertia. We call the resulting technique the gliding cursor, as it feels as if the cursor was gliding on the screen.

We have prototyped the technique and performed informal testing. During the internship, the student will be expected to:

  • pursue informal testing in order to calibrate the technique and explore various types of gliding;
  • design and run controlled experiments to assess the technique, in terms of both performance and comfort;
  • conduct a long-term field study to assess whether users adapt their pointing strategy to the gliding cursor.

The internship can be 4 to 6 months long and hopefully will result in a paper submitted to a conference such as ACM CHI.

Required skills

  • Basic background in Human-Computer Interaction.
  • Programming skills in graphical user interfaces.
  • A knowledge of Objective-C and programming on MacOS/iOS is a plus.