Tech Briefs

A suite of software-based tasks can be used for the study of cursor control devices, gloved operations, and fine motor control.

The test battery was developed to provide a standard procedure for cursor control device evaluation. The software was built in Visual Basic and consists of nine tasks and a main menu that integrates the set-up of the tasks. The tasks can be used individually, or in a series defined in the main menu.

Task 1, the Unidirectional Pointing Task, tests the speed and accuracy of clicking on targets. Two rectangles with an adjustable width and adjustable center- to-center distance are presented. The task is to click back and forth between the two rectangles. Clicks outside of the rectangles are recorded as errors.

Task 2, Multidirectional Pointing Task, measures speed and accuracy of clicking on targets approached from different angles. Twenty-five numbered squares of adjustable width are arranged around an adjustable diameter circle. The task is to point and click on the numbered squares (placed on opposite sides of the circle) in consecutive order. Clicks outside of the squares are recorded as errors.

Task 3, Unidirectional (horizontal) Dragging Task, is similar to dragging a file into a folder on a computer desktop. Task 3 requires dragging a square of adjustable width from one rectangle and dropping it into another. The width of each rectangle is adjustable, as well as the distance between the two rectangles. Dropping the square outside of the rectangles is recorded as an error.

Task 4, Unidirectional Path Following, is similar to Task 3. The task is to drag a square through a tunnel consisting of two lines. The size of the square and the width of the tunnel are adjustable. If the square touches any of the lines, it is counted as an error and the task is restarted.

Task 5, Text Selection, involves clicking on a Start button, and then moving directly to the underlined portion of the displayed text and highlighting it. The pointing distance to the text is adjustable, as well as the to-be-selected font size and the underlined character length. If the selection does not include all of the underlined characters, or includes non-underlined characters, it is recorded as an error.

Task 6, Multi-size and Multi-distance Pointing, presents the participant with 24 consecutively numbered buttons of different sizes (63 to 163 pixels), and at different distances (60 to 80 pixels) from the Start button. The task is to click on the Start button, and then move directly to, and click on, each numbered target button in consecutive order. Clicks outside of the target area are errors.

Task 7, Standard Interface Elements Task, involves interacting with standard interface elements as instructed in written procedures, including: drop-down menus, sliders, text boxes, radio buttons, and check boxes. Task completion time is recorded.

In Task 8, a circular track is presented with a disc in it at the top. Track width and disc size are adjustable. The task is to move the disc with circular motion within the path without touching the boundaries of the track. Time and errors are recorded.

Task 9 is a discrete task that allows evaluation of discrete cursor control devices that tab from target to target, such as a castle switch. The task is to follow a predefined path and to click on the yellow targets along the path.

This work was done by Kritina Holden, Aniko Sandor, John Pace, and Shelby Thompson of Lockheed Martin for Johnson Space Center. MSC-25214-1

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Cursor Control Device Test Battery (reference MSC-25214-1) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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