The Personal Cockpit: a spatial interface for effective task switching on head-worn displays

Barrett Ens, Rory Finnegan, Pourang Irani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


As wearable computing goes mainstream, we must improve the state of interface design to keep users productive with natural-feeling interactions. We present the Personal Cockpit, a solution for mobile multitasking on head-worn displays. We appropriate empty space around the user to situate virtual windows for use with direct input. Through a design-space exploration, we run a series of user studies to fine-tune our layout of the Personal Cockpit. In our final evaluation, we compare our design against two baseline interfaces for switching between everyday mobile applications. This comparison highlights the deficiencies of current view-fixed displays, as the Personal Cockpit provides a 40% improvement in application switching time. We demonstrate of several useful implementations and a discussion of important problems for future implementation of our design on current and near-future wearable devices.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2014 - One of a CHInd
Subtitle of host publicationConference Proceedings - Toronto, Canada - April 26 - May 1, 2014
EditorsAlbrecht Schmidt, Tovi Grossman
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450324731
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014 - Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 26 Apr 20141 May 2014
Conference number: 32nd (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014
Abbreviated titleCHI 2014
Internet address


  • Head-mounted display
  • Head-worn display
  • Multi-display environment
  • Spatial input
  • Spatial user interface
  • Task switching
  • Virtual window management

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