Gaze and Hum for Text Entry

8th May 2021 4 minutes to read

In our research paper “Hummer: Text Entry by Gaze and Hum”, we have combined gaze control with humming sounds in a novel, hands-free text entry system. Our results were accepted for detailed publication and presentation at the most important international conference on human-computer interaction, CHI.

A woman looks at a laptop with a virtual keyboard. A microphone is attached in front of the laptop, and an eye tracker is attached under the screen.

In many situations, a touchless text input may be necessary - whether it is cooking, a short- or long-term injury, or even illness. Voice control could be a solution for text entry, but privacy is potentially compromised. In some cases, voice input may not even be possible for users due to the nature of their illness.

Therefore we combine buzzing sounds with gaze control via eye-tracking for hands-free word-by-word text entry. For this purpose, the user looks at the first letter of a word on the on-screen virtual keyboard, starts humming, looks over the other letters of the word, and ends the input of the word with the humming - fast, precise, and discrete. Our approach enabled testers to input over 20 words per minute without touching the keyboard, outperforming other current hands-free input methods. This convinced both the reviewers of our publication and the international audience of researchers during our presentation at the “2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems” in May:

Ramin Hedeshy, Chandan Kumar, Raphael Menges, and Steffen Staab. 2021. Hummer: Text Entry by Gaze and Hum. In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 741, 1–11. DOI:

We are planning to integrate this innovative way of text input into Semanux as well, thus providing our customers with faster, simpler, and more reliable hands-free interaction based on the latest research findings. Ramin’s presentation can be watched on YouTube:

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