Impact Activation Improves Rapid Button Pressing

Sunjun Kim, Byungjoo Lee, Antti Oulasvirta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


The activation point of a button is defined as the depth at which it invokes a make signal. Regular buttons are activated during the downward stroke, which occurs within the first 20 ms of a press. The remaining portion, which can be as long as 80 ms, has not been examined for button activation for reason of mechanical limitations. The paper presents a technique and empirical evidence for an activation technique called Impact Activation, where the button is activated at its maximal impact point. We argue that this technique is advantageous particularly in rapid, repetitive button pressing, which is common in gaming and music applications. We report on a study of rapid button pressing, wherein users’ timing accuracy improved significantly with use of Impact Activation. The technique can be implemented for modern push-buttons and capacitive sensors that generate a continuous signal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5620-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018
Conference number: 36


ConferenceACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI
Internet address


  • Impact activation
  • button design
  • activation point
  • temporal pointing
  • rapid tapping

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  • Projects

    COMPUTED: Computational User Interface Design

    Oulasvirta, A., Kim, S., Dayama, N., Shiripour, M., Todi, K., Liao, Y., Koch, J., Nioche, A., Feit, A., Leiva, L. & Bruckner, L.


    Project: EU: ERC grants

    Cite this

    Kim, S., Lee, B., & Oulasvirta, A. (2018). Impact Activation Improves Rapid Button Pressing. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems [571] ACM.