Archive for the ‘collaboration’ Category

Ad-hoc workspace sharing for under $US 500 per person

Monday, April 6th, 2009

BT-1 Wireless webcam: $US 149


3M MPRO110 Micro Projector: $US 300

= $USD 449 (= $AUD 626) plus something for shipping.


Tape them together, point them at a surface in arm’s reach, set up a screen-sharing videoconference with someone else with the same setup, and you can share a projected workspace. Cheap, fast and adaptable.

Cool toys at the Games Studio

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

I’m in the UTS Games Studio, the denizens of which are demonstrating the cool toys we have there. First is Leena who has embedded various i-cubex sensors in a teddy bear (well, a dog, but she admonishes us to ignore that), a tennis racket any glove. All of these are generating audio at the moment. Greg and Daniel have been playing with our MERL Touchtable. This is a multi-user multitouch display table; its special capability is that it can distinguish between four users. Other touch tables can support lots of users and touches, but can’t tell who is who. They’ve made a simple but very engaging game called Ball Fight that used this capability nicely. The CCS mob is getting quite excited by the artistic possibilities ^_^


Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

On occasion there’s something on my mind but it’s not quite worth the effort of crafting one of the perfect jewels of deathless prose that you, dear reader, are accustomed to finding on this here blog. In days past you would have been mercifully spared such ephemera. No longer. In the sidebar you can now peruse my twitter stream. One keystroke and something under a hundred and forty characters later, there it is. Of necessity more tightly phrased than this – and that’s the point. I like twittering, but I love reading my incoming feed.

iServe – why you *do* need a web server on your iPhone

Monday, August 4th, 2008

As usual, Mark picks up the clue stick while I’m still distracted by the shiny.

Structures of Participation in Digital Culture – online for free

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Or they’ll print and bind you one for twenty bucks, pretty good deal. lots of goodness here though including Game Engines as Open Networks and History, Memory, Place, and Technology: Plato’s Phaedrus Online.

Design Transformations at CHI 2008

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

I arrived in Florence last week fairly alert, considering the time difference from Sydney. I’d done the right thing and stayed awake for the last 20 hours of the flight, crashed at my hotel on arrival in the evening and got a good 10 hours sleep before the opening plenary.

It was worth it. I hadn’t heard of Irene McAra-McWilliam (Head of the School of Design at the Glasgow School of Art) before but I’m a fan now. Her speech was uplifting. She wove a tapestry of design history and theory, to come elegantly to the conclusion that designers in a connected world have a responsibility to enable others; to come to some problems not with a solution but with a box of tools.

This is just what I hope to do with my research into creativity support tools, and it’s what I’m seeing in my studies of creative place. I don’t need to design the perfect virtual studio; I need to design an environment with the right parts and the right affordances, to enable inhabitants to configure the perfect studio for their task.

Web3D 2008 Paper on The Design of Virtual Place for Creative Collaboration

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

I managed to put together what I think is a reasonable summary of my unpublished work so far on virtual place, in time for the Web3D 2008 deadline. The writing could of course always do with some polishing, but my main concern is that Web3D tends to be an engineering-focused conference and my paper is on human factors and design. However it is the venue that I want to get into – it’s the engineers that I want to convince! Otherwise we’ll just keep seeing virtual worlds built without real consideration of what it is that is being built – why this set of affordances? Why these cultural choices? So here it is; all anonymised for review but anyone reading this blog already knows my research so no point being coy about it here 😉

A Pale Shadow of Reality: Virtuality as a Second-Best Option

Friday, March 14th, 2008

This rant kicks off with a Tech Republic article on telepresence that was linked in the February ’08 Litmus. I’m reading Litmus because the lovely people at ACID have been kind enough to chip in on my research, and they went to the trouble of putting it together, so it’s clearly something I ought to be doing. Fortunately it’s an interesting read, at least to someone of my peculiar interests.

The linked article on the other hand, while being bang-on to my research topic, only serves to annoy me. It’s not that the article is wrong; it’s more that it expresses a widely-held but misconceived view of what telepresence is for and how it should be developed.

The headline sums it up nicely: Telepresence: The next best thing to being there. This reminds me of the early Virtual Reality hype. The idea is that the aim is to perfectly replicate what we already have – perfect photo-realism! Stereo vision! Touch! Taste! It’s what Baudrillard might call the simulator’s obsession with reality. And since we’ll never quite perfectly simulate reality until we have Gibsonian neural interfaces, then whatever we make will always be second best.

No need to draw this out. I am tired of this obsession. Reality is interesting, but human minds do not need to be tricked into a full sensory illusion in order for a technology to be useful. Text is immersive, when well written. Bodies moving in space is part of it, but it’s not the whole ball of wax. We construct our everyday mixed realities as we inhabit our own minds while simultaneously modeling the minds of those around us; considering our own context and the other contexts available to other people and systems that we are connected to. And not only in the moment; we include the potential availability of other connected realities, for example when we plan to pick up the phone when we get off an aeroplane.

Telepresence is its own thing; augmenting and interoperating with our other modes of communication and interaction just like the telephone and the post. It does not need to perfectly mimic reality, any more than virtual environments must be “virtual reality” (in the sense of realism). This conflation with realism is why I don’t use the term VR. I prefer VE, or even Ivan Sutherland’svirtual worlds” when talking about a self-contained virtual place. But really the key for me is that unless you’re planning to wipe your users’ brains and create for them an entirely new self-contained context then you’re never making a new reality, you’re just making something that will be part of the rich and multifaceted realities that we already inhabit.

Local knowledge

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

So – looking into the Design Creativity Workshop to be held at this year’s Design Computing and Cognition conference, I notice that the information is on the web page of my CCS colleague Yukari Nagai, who is also on the program committee. Her research into design creativity is of course all deeply relevant to me.

I am reminded that I’m surrounded at CCS by a fascinating group of researchers and practitioners. So since I have a lot of reading to do, I’ve decided to start at home.


Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

I stumbled on this nice interview with Matthew McGinity about the T-visionarium and other iCinema applications. Note to self: consider 10M diameter by 4M height for the panorama cylinders in the prototype CVE.

Here’s a link to the video – not embedded because ZDnet’s embed code is dodgy.