Skip to main content
Log in

Towards accurate cursorless pointing: the effects of ocular dominance and handedness

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Pointing gestures are our natural way of referencing distant objects and thus widely used in HCI for controlling devices. Due to current pointing models’ inherent inaccuracies, most of the systems using pointing gestures so far rely on visual feedback showing users where they point at. However, in many environments, e.g., smart homes, it is rarely possible to display cursors since most devices do not contain a display. Therefore, we raise the question of how to facilitate accurate pointing-based interaction in a cursorless context. In this paper we present two user studies showing that previous cursorless techniques are rather inaccurate as they lack important considerations about users’ characteristics that would help in minimizing inaccuracy. We show that pointing accuracy could be significantly improved by acknowledging users’ handedness and ocular dominance. In a first user study (n= 33), we reveal the large effect of ocular dominance and handedness on human pointing behavior. Current ray-casting techniques neglect both ocular dominance and handedness as effects onto pointing behavior, precluding them from accurate cursorless selection. With a second user study (n= 25), we show that accounting for ocular dominance and handedness yields to significantly more accurate selections compared to two previously published ray-casting techniques. This speaks for the importance of considering users’ characteristics further to develop better selection techniques to foster more robust accurate selections.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Angelini L, Carrino F, Carrino S, Caon M, Khaled OA, Baumgartner J, Sonderegger A, Lalanne D, Mugellini E (2014) Gesturing on the steering wheel: a user-elicited taxonomy. In: Proceedings of automotiveUI. ACM, New York, pp 31:1–31:8

  2. Argelaguet F, Andujar C (2009) Efficient 3d pointing selection in cluttered virtual environments. IEEE Comput Graph Appl Mag 29(6):34–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Aswathappa J, Kutty K, Annamalai N (2011) Relationship between handedness and ocular dominance in healthy young adults - a study. Int J Pharm 2(2):76–78

    Google Scholar 

  4. Biguer B, Prablanc C, Jeannerod M (1984) The contribution of coordinated eye and head movements in hand pointing accuracy. Exp Brain Res 55(3):462–469

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bowman MC, Johannson RS, Flanagan JR (2009) Eye-hand coordination in a sequential target contact task. Exp Brain Res 195(2):273–283

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Caon M, Yue Y, Tscherrig J, Mugellini E, Abou Khaled O (2011) Context-Aware 3D Gesture interaction based on multiple kinects, IARIA. In: Proceedings of AMBIENT, pp 7–12

  7. Cockburn A, Quinn P, Gutwin C, Ramos G, Looser J (2011) Air pointing: design and evaluation of spatial target acquisition with and without visual feedback. Int J Hum-Comput St 69(6):401–414

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Corradini A, Cohen PR (2002) Multimodal speech-gesture interface for handfree painting on a virtual paper using partial recurrent neural networks as gesture recognizer. In: Proceedings of IJCNN, vol 3. IEEE, pp 2293–2298

  9. Friston K (2011) What is optimal about motor control? Neuron 72(3):488–498

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Helsen WF, Elliott D, Starkes JL, Ricker KL (1998) Temporal and spatial coupling of point of gaze and hand movements in aiming. J Motor Behav 30(3):249–259

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Helsen WF, Elliott D, Starkes JL, Ricker KL (2000) Coupling of eye, finger, elbow, and shoulder movements during manual aiming. J Motor Behav 32(3):241–248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Jota R, Nacenta MA, Jorge JA, Carpendale S, Greenberg S (2010) A comparison of ray pointing techniques for very large displays. In: Proceedings of GI 2010, pp 269–276

  13. Kawato M (1999) Internal models for motor control and trajectory planning. Curr opin neurobiol 9(6):718–727

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Khan AZ, Crawford JD (2001) Ocular dominance reverses as a function of horizontal gaze angle. Vis Res 41(14):1743–1748

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Khan AZ, Crawford JD (2003) Coordinating one hand with two eyes: optimizing for field of view in a pointing task. Vision res 43(4):409–417

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. König WA, Gerken J, Dierdorf S, Reiterer H (2009) Adaptive pointing design and evaluation of a precision enhancing technique for absolute pointing devices. In: Proceedings of INTERACT, 5726. Springer, Berlin, pp 658–671

  17. Kopper R, Bowman DA, Silva MG, McMahan RP (2010) A human motor behavior model for distal pointing tasks. Int J Hum-Comput St 68(10):603–615

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kranstedt A, Lücking A, Pfeiffer T, Rieser H, Staudacher M (2006) Measuring and reconstructing pointing in visual contexts. In: Proceedings of the brandial

  19. Latash ML, Levin MF, Scholz JP, Schöner G (2010) Motor control theories and their applications. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania) 46(6):382

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Lazzari S, Mottet D, Vercher JL (2009) Eye-hand coordination in rhythmical pointing. J Motor Behav 41(4):294–304

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Mäkelä V, Heimonen T, Turunen M (2014) Magnetic cursor: improving target selection in freehand pointing interfaces. In: Proceedings of PerDis. ACM, New York, pp 112–117

  22. Mayer S, Wolf K, Schneegrass S, Henze N (2015) Modeling distant pointing for compensating systematic displacements. In: Proceedings of CHI 2015

  23. Nancel M, Pietriga E, Chapuis O, Beaudouin-Lafon M (2015) Mid-air pointing on ultra-walls. ACM Trans Comput-Hum Interact 22(5):21:1–21:62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Porac C, Coren S (1976) The dominant eye. Psychol Bull 83(5):880–897

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Porac C, Coren S (1986) Sighting dominance and egocentric localization. Vis Res 26(10):1709–1713

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Roth HL, Lora AN, Heilman KM (2002) Effects of monocular viewing and eye dominance on spatial attention. Brain 125(9):2023–2035

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Ruiz J, Li Y, Lank E (2011) User-de ned motion gestures for mobile interaction. In: Proceedings of CHI, ACM, New York, CHI ’11, pp 197–206.

  28. Teather RJ, Stuerzlinger W (2011) Pointing at 3d targets in a stereo head-tracked virtual environment. In: Proceedings of 3DUI. IEEE, pp 87–94 20

  29. Todorov E, Jordan MI (2002) Optimal feedback control as a theory of motor coordination. Nat neurosci 5 (11):1226–1235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Wnuczko M, Kennedy JM (2011) Pivots for pointing: visuallymonitored pointing has higher arm elevations than pointing blindfolded. J Exp Psychol Hum 37(5):1485–1491.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Wobbrock JO, Morris MR, Wilson AD (2009) User-de ned gestures for surface computing. In: Proceedings of CHI. ACM, New York, pp 1083–1092

  32. Wobbrock JO, Findlater L, Gergle D, Higgins JJ (2011) The aligned rank transform for nonparametric factorial analyses using only anova procedures. In: Proceedings of the CHI. ACM, New York, pp 143–146

Download references


This work was conducted within the Emmy Noether research group Mobile Interaction with Pervasive User Interfaces funded by DFG and the SenseEmotion project funded by BMBF.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Katrin Plaumann.

Additional information

Submitted to Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Plaumann, K., Weing, M., Winkler, C. et al. Towards accurate cursorless pointing: the effects of ocular dominance and handedness. Pers Ubiquit Comput 22, 633–646 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: