CINCH: A Cooperatively Designed Marking Interface for 3D Pathway Selection


David Akers

Stanford University

  Published in UIST 2006



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To disentangle and analyze neural pathways estimated from magnetic resonance imaging data, scientists need an interface to select 3D pathways. Broad adoption of such an interface requires the use of commodity input devices such as mice and pens, but these devices offer only two degrees of freedom. CINCH solves this problem by providing a marking interface for 3D pathway selection. CINCH interprets pen strokes as pathway selections in 3D using a marking language designed together with scientists. Its bimanual interface employs a pen and a trackball, allowing alternating selections and scene rotations without changes of mode. CINCH was evaluated by observing four scientists using the tool over a period of three weeks as part of their normal work activity. Event logs and interviews revealed dramatic improvements in both the speed and quality of scientists' everyday work, and a set of principles that should inform the design of future 3D marking interfaces. More broadly, CINCH demonstrates the value of the iterative, participatory design process that catalyzed its evolution as an interface.



 Gestures invented through 
participatory design

Figure 3: Three gestures invented by users during participatory design: Left: shape matching (selects paths that look like the gesture curve). Center: touch (selects any paths that touch the gesture). Right: surface-intersection (selects paths that intersect the specified region on a cutting plane).


 An example interaction sequence 
with CINCH

Figure 8: An example interaction sequence with CINCH: In six steps, a scientist locates an arc-shaped set of language related pathways known as the arcuate fasciculus, then segments the set into two parts. a) A set of 7000 estimated brain pathways. b) The scientist draws an arc-shaped shape match mark, attempting to locate the arcuate. c) The shape match returns a few representative pathways from the arcuate. d) To capture more pathways of the arcuate, the user grows the selection. e) Switching colors to yellow, the scientist draws a touch stroke to segment the pathways into two groups based on their destination. f) The final result is shown. (The elapsed time was 2 minutes.)

David Akers | Last updated 06 Dec 2006