Brian Holbert

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science


Computer Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Manfred Huber


Although the human computer interface continues to evolve by engaging sight, voice, sound, and touch to manipulate the environment, the marriage between mouse and graphic based operating systems remains one of the primary relationships through which we interact with the computer. With the advent of haptics it has become possible to enhance the GUI/mouse relationship with the sense of touch using a haptic mouse, opening new avenues of interaction, in particular for those with disabilities. For the majority of users the mouse is an effective and proven device for human computer interaction. However it is not as well suited for particular groups with physical disabilities, leaving those with disabilities in search of an alternative input device. The haptic mouse can exist as one of those alternatives if an effective interface can be designed that compensates for the disability of the user. An environment has been constructed that uses haptic effects, movement profiles, and a prediction algorithm to improve targeting for a group of users with physical disabilities. The research presented 23 individuals with motor disabilities affecting the arms with varying haptic and non-haptic desktop-like interfaces. Results of the experiments found greatly improved performance for most individuals in the haptic condition over the non-haptic when the target was a known quantity. In conditions where prediction was used to apply the haptic effect, results varied based on proximity to the actual target. Predictions made within two objects of the target resulted in either no effect or improved performance among individuals, while predictions made further than two objects from the target resulted in no effect or decreased performance. Analysis of the prediction algorithm has identified areas where improvement would be possible given the data collected during the experiments with the disabled group. This research concluded with a better understanding of how disabled individuals interact with a haptic computer mouse, Fitts' Law evaluation of the haptic mouse, effectiveness of compound haptic effects, and a new algorithm for predicting targets in a multi-columned multi-rowed environment, that results in improved performance for a group of disabled individuals in a desktop interface using a haptic mouse.


Computer Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington