Publications

By Maribeth Back (Clear Search)

2006

Usable ubiquitous computing in next generation conference rooms: design, architecture and evaluation

Publication Details
  • International workshop at UbiComp 2006.
  • Sep 17, 2006

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In the UbiComp 2005 workshop "Ubiquitous computing in next generation conference rooms" we learned that usability is one of the primary challenges in these spaces. Nearly all "smart" rooms, though they often have interesting and effective functionality, are very difficult to simply walk in and use. Most such rooms have resident experts who keep the room's systems functioning, and who often must be available on an everyday basis to enable the meeting technologies. The systems in these rooms are designed for and assume the presence of these human "wizards"; they are seldom designed with usability in mind. In addition, people don't know what to expect in these rooms; as yet there is no technology standard for next-generation conference rooms. The challenge here is to strike an effective balance between usability and new kinds of functionality (such as multiple displays, new interfaces, rich media systems, new uploading/access/security systems, robust mobile integration, to name just a few of the functions we saw in last year's workshop). So, this year, we propose a workshop to focus more specifically on how the design of next-generation conference rooms can support usability: the tasks facing the real people who use these rooms daily. Usability in ubiquitous computing has been the topic of several papers and workshops. Focusing on usability in next-generation conference rooms lets us bring to bear some of the insights from this prior work in a delineated application space. In addition the workshop will be informed by the most recent usability research in ubiquitous computing, rich media, context-aware mobile systems, multiple display environments, and interactive physical environments. We also are vitally concerned with how usability in smart environments tracks (or doesn't) across cultures. Conference room research has been and remains a focal point for some of the most interesting and applied work in ubiquitous computing. It is also an area where there are many real-world applications and daily opportunities for user feed-back: in short, a rich area for exploring usable ubiquitous computing. We see a rich opportunity to draw together researchers not only from conference room research but also from areas such as interactive furniture/smart environments, rich media, social computing, remote conferencing, and mobile devices for a lively exchange of ideas on usability in applied ubicomp systems for conference rooms.
Publication Details
  • Proceedings of AVI '06 (Short Paper), ACM Press, pp. 258-261.
  • May 23, 2006

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During grouping tasks for data exploration and sense-making, the criteria are normally not well-defined. When users are bringing together data objects thought to be similar in some way, implicit brushing continually detects for groups on the freeform workspace, analyzes the groups' text content or metadata, and draws attention to related data by displaying visual hints and animation. This provides helpful tips for further grouping, group meaning refinement and structure discovery. The sense-making process is further enhanced by retrieving relevant information from a database or network during the brushing. Closely related to implicit brushing, target snapping provides a useful means to move a data object to one of its related groups on a large display. Natural dynamics and smooth animations also help to prevent distractions and allow users to concentrate on the grouping and thinking tasks. Two different prototype applications, note grouping for brainstorming and photo browsing, demonstrate the general applicability of the technique.
2005
Publication Details
  • Video track, ACM Multimedia 2005.
  • Nov 13, 2005

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A Post-Bit is a prototype of a small ePaper device for handling multimedia content, combining interaction control and display into one package. Post-Bits are modeled after paper Post-Its™; the functions of each Post-Bit combine the affordances of physical tiny sticky memos and digital handling of information. Post-Bits enable us to arrange multimedia contents in our embodied physical spaces. Tangible properties of paper such as flipping, flexing, scattering and rubbing are mapped to controlling aspects of the content. In this paper, we introduce the integrated design and functionality of the Post-Bit system, including four main components: the ePaper sticky memo/player, with integrated sensors and connectors; a small container/binder that a few Post-Bits can fit into, for ordering and multiple connections; the data and power port that allows communication with the host com-puter; and finally the software and GUI interface that reside on the host PC and manage multimedia transfer.
Publication Details
  • We organized and ran a full-day workshop at the UbiComp 2005 Conference in Tokyo, Japan, September 11, 2005.
  • Sep 29, 2005

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Designing the technologies, applications, and physical spaces for next-generation conference rooms (This is a day-long workshop in Tokyo.) Next-generation conference rooms are often designed to anticipate the onslaught of new rich media presentation and ideation systems. Throughout the past couple of decades, many researchers have attempted to reinvent the conference room, aiming at shared online or visual/virtual spaces, smart tables or walls, media support and tele-conferencing systems of varying complexity. Current research in high-end room systems often features a multiplicity of thin, bright display screens (both large and small), along with interactive whiteboards, robotic cameras, and smart remote conferencing systems. Added into the mix one can find a variety of meeting capture and metadata management systems, automatic or not, focused on capturing different aspects of meetings in different media: to the Web, to one's PDA or phone, or to a company database. Smart spaces and interactive furniture design projects have shown systems embedded in tables, podiums, walls, chairs and even floors and lighting. Exploiting the capabilities of all these technologies in one room, however, is a daunting task. For example, faced with three or more display screens, all but a few presenters are likely to opt for simply replicating the same image on all of them. Even more daunting is the design challenge: how to choose which capabilities are vital to particular tasks, or for a particular room, or are well suited to a particular culture. In this workshop we'll explore how the design of next-generation conference rooms can be informed by the most recent research in rich media, context-aware mobile systems, ubiquitous displays, and interactive physical environments. How should conference room systems reflect the rapidly changing expectations around personal devices and smart spaces? What kinds of systems are needed to support meetings in technologically complex environments? How can design of conference room spaces and technologies account for differing social and cultural practices around meetings? What requirements are imposed by security and privacy issues in public spaces? What aspects of meeting capture and access technologies have proven to be useful, and how should a smart environment enable them? What intersections exist with other research areas such as digital libraries? Conference room research has been and remains a focal point for some of the most interesting and applied work in ubiquitous computing. What lessons can we take from the research to date as we move forward? We are confident that a lively and useful discussion will be engendered by bringing directions from recent ubicomp research in games, multimedia applications, and social software to ongoing research in conference rooms systems: integrating architecture and tangible media, information design and display, and mobile and computer-mediated communications.
Publication Details
  • Paper presented at SIGGRAPH 2005, Los Angeles.
  • Sep 29, 2005

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The Convertible Podium is a central control station for rich media in next-generation classrooms. It integrates flexible control systems for multimedia software and hardware, and is designed for use in classrooms with multiple screens, multiple media sources and multiple distribution channels. The built-in custom electronics and unique convertible podium frame allows intuitive conversion between use modes (either manual or automatic). The at-a-touch sound and light control system gives control over the classroom environment. Presentations can be pre-authored for effective performance, and quickly altered on the fly. The counter-weighted and motorized conversion system allows one person to change modes simply by lifting the top of the Podium to the correct position for each mode. The Podium is lightweight, mobile, and wireless, and features an onboard 21" LCD display, document cameras and other capture devices, tangible controls for hardware and software, and also possesses embedded RFID sensing for automatic data retrieval and file management. It is designed to ease the tasks involved in authoring and presenting in a rich media classroom, as well as supporting remote telepresence and integration with other mobile devices.
Publication Details
  • Short presentation in UbiComp 2005 workshop in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Sep 11, 2005

Abstract

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As the use of rich media in mobile devices and smart environments becomes more sophisticated, so must the design of the everyday objects used as containers or controllers. Rather than simply tacking electronics onto existing furniture or other objects, the design of a smart object can enhance existing ap-plications in unexpected ways. The Convertible Podium is an experiment in the design of a smart object with complex integrated systems, combining the highly designed look and feel of a modern lectern with systems that allow it to serve as a central control station for rich media manipulation in next-generation confer-ence rooms. It enables easy control of multiple independent screens, multiple media sources (including mobile devices) and multiple distribution channels. The Podium is designed to ease the tasks involved in authoring and presenting in a rich media meeting room, as well as supporting remote telepresence and in-tegration with mobile devices.
Publication Details
  • Demo and presentation in UbiComp 2005 workshop in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Sep 11, 2005

Abstract

Close
A Post-Bit is a prototype of a small ePaper device for handling multimedia content, combining interaction control and display into one package. Post-Bits are modeled after paper Post-Its™; the functions of each Post-Bit combine the affordances of physical tiny sticky memos and digital handling of information. Post-Bits enable us to arrange multimedia contents in our embodied physical spaces. Tangible properties of paper such as flipping, flexing, scattering and rubbing are mapped to controlling aspects of the content. In this paper, we introduce the integrated design and functionality of the Post-Bit system, including four main components: the ePaper sticky memo/player, with integrated sensors and connectors; a small container/binder that a few Post-Bits can fit into, for ordering and multiple connections; the data and power port that allows communication with the host com-puter; and finally the software and GUI interface that reside on the host PC and manage multimedia transfer.