Evaluation of Tip-Activated and Push-Button Infrared Pens for Interactive Whiteboards

Abstract. Many schools are replacing traditional whiteboards with interactive versions connected to computers and operated with a digital pen. Previous research has established that interactive whiteboards facilitate the learning activities, but there is limited research on the usability of the available digital pens. In particular, the Wiimote project is a cheap interactive whiteboard that employs an infrared pen, which is available in two versions: 1) push button and 2) tip activated. The push button is a pen which functions is similar to that of a mouse and the tip activated is a pen that acts like a "real" pen. In this article, we present an experiment that compares the usability of two infrared pens (push button and tip activated) in a target acquisition and a docking task. In addition to those typical input device tasks, we developed a more realistic drawing task, in order to assess the accuracy of each input device. We found that the tip activated pen is more usable, more accurate, and creates less fatigue.

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