Get a Grip: Evaluating Grip Gestures for VR Input Using a Lightweight Pen

Nianlong Li, Teng Han, Feng Tian, Jin Huang, Minghui Sun, Pourang Irani, Jason Alexander

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

21 Citations (SciVal)
191 Downloads (Pure)


The use of Virtual Reality (VR) in applications such as data analysis, artistic creation, and clinical settings requires high precision input. However, the current design of handheld controllers, where wrist rotation is the primary input approach, does not exploit the human fingers' capability for dexterous movements for high precision pointing and selection. To address this issue, we investigated the characteristics and potential of using a pen as a VR input device. We conducted two studies. The first examined which pen grip allowed the largest range of motion---we found a tripod grip at the rear end of the shaft met this criterion. The second study investigated target selection via 'poking' and ray-casting, where we found the pen grip outperformed the traditional wrist-based input in both cases. Finally, we demonstrate potential applications enabled by VR pen input and grip postures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367080
ISBN (Print)9781450367080
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Luyao Shen for help with figure drawing and video editing, Zongqi Zhang for help with conducting the experiments, Sinong Zhan for help with the software implementation, the members of IEL ISCAS, and the reviewers for their constructive feedback. This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFB1001402), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61802379, 61872164) and Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 ACM.


  • finger and wrist dexterity
  • grip postures
  • handheld controller
  • pen input
  • spatial target selection
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software


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