EarPut: Augmenting Ear-worn Devices for Ear-based Interaction

One of the pervasive challenges in mobile interaction is decreasing the visual demand of interfaces towards eyes-free interaction. In this paper, we focus on the unique affordances of the human ear to support one-handed and eyes-free mobile interaction. We present EarPut, a novel interface concept and hardware prototype, which unobtrusively augments a variety of accessories that are worn behind the ear (e.g. headsets or glasses) to instrument the human ear as an interactive surface. The contribution of this paper is three-fold. We contribute (i) results from a controlled experiment with 27 participants, providing empirical evidence that people are able to target salient regions on their ear effectively and precisely, (ii) a first, systematically derived design space for ear-based interaction and (iii) a set of proof of concept EarPut applications that leverage on the design space and embrace mobile media navigation, mobile gaming and smart home interaction.


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Media/Press Coverage

  • (10.2013) http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?articleId=1275146
  • (6.2013) http://www.nngroup.com/articles/human-body-touch-input/
  • (6.2013) http://contorra.ru/ru/yakob-nilsen-chelovecheskoe-telo-kak-zamena-tachskrina-chast-1-uho-kak-ustroystvo-vvoda


  • Dr. Roman Lissermann
  • Dr. Jochen Huber
  • Prof. Dr. Aristotelis Hadjakos
  • Prof. Suranga Nanayakkara, PhD
  • Max Mühlhäuser


  • Martin Schmitz
  • Eric Brüggemann
  • Marcel Dostal
  • Mohit Makhija
  • Ilja Schwarz