Real-time collaboration systems that enable distributed access to a shared application often require a turn-taking protocol. Current protocols rely on the visual channel using GUI widgets, and do not support expressions of urgency. We describe a novel urgency-based turn-taking protocol that is mediated through haptics: vibrotactile signals inform users of their current role in the collaboration. For example, a control holder receives different signals according to the urgency with which collaborators request control. In an observational user study we compare three implementations of the protocol: one dominated by haptic signals, one with visual cues alone, and one balancing both modalities. Our results suggest that a modestly-sized set of well-designed haptic stimuli can be learned to a high degree of accuracy in a short time, that the inclusion of haptic stimuli can make turn-taking behavior more equitable, and that the ability to communicate urgency positively impacts collaboration dynamics.
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