Open Exhibits - Research - Papers



Application of Single and Multi-touch Gestures in a WebGL Molecule Viewer


The number of devices with touch input such as smart phones, computers, and tablets has grown extensively in recent years. Native applications on these devices have access to this touch and gesture information and can provide a rich, interactive experience. Web applications, however, lack a consistent and uniform way to retrieve touch and gesture input. With the quality and robustness of web applications continually growing and replacing native applications in many areas, a way to access and harness touch input is critical. This paper proposes two JavaScript libraries that provide a reliable and easy way for web applications to use touch efficiently and effectively. First, getTjs abstracts the gathering of touch events for most mobile and desktop touch devices. GenGesjs, the second library, receives this information and identifies gestures based on the touch input. Web applications can have this gesture information pushed to them as it is received or instead request the most recent gestures when desired. An example of interfacing with both libraries is provided in the form of WebMol. WebMol is a web application that allows for three dimensional viewing of molecules using WebGL. Gestures from GenGesjs are translated to interactions with the molecules, providing an intuitive interface for users. Using both of these libraries, web applications can easily tap into touch input resulting in an improved user experience regardless of the device.