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How can co-operation, social interaction, and trust between people be built and supported in digital networks? How can digital and hybrid environments for representation, such as visualization, and communication be created, that are efficient and stimulating to use? We want to make communication rewarding by creating use situations that are natural and immediate, where the exchange of thoughts, emotions and materials is simple and direct with no feeling of mediation.

The VideoSpace project builds on the research tradition of Media Spaces. The project studies how informal social interaction, community, and common culture can be upheld between separate locations by means of video- and audio connections. A fibre network with high capacity is used, providing for broadcast-quality, natural-size images, without delays in image or sound. An innovative mirror system permits direct eye contact. VideoSpaces stay continuously open, like doors to distant, physical places. Although the primary purpose is to support everyday interaction and informal contact between people, VideoSpaces can, of course, also be used for more formal videoconference and communication scenarios.

Community at-a-distance (The project formerly known as “K.”) studies the use of VideoSpaces for connecting the staff at a distributed workplace: The Call Centre of the Stockholm County Police, which is located on three islands in the Stockholm archipelago, approximately 150 km apart. A first phase of user-oriented work has been brought to an end. Currently communication units are being manufactured for installation in the three workplaces.

Test bed Ornö The project is planned as a generalization of Community-at-a-distance (above). The primary aim of “Test bed Ornö” is to evaluate the use of VideoSpace for providing contact with government institutions and access to community services for people living in rural areas. An application for project funding is currently pending.

Power Place The primary objective is to study the use of VideoSpaces for integrating the distributed offices of Swedpower (Vattenfall), a major Swedish energy provider, as well as for communication with common service departments within the organisation. A secondary objective concerns the use of VideoSpaces for connecting industry to students and the academic world for recruiting and information dissemination purposes.

Mixed Mobility Mobile use is different from stationary use. This project addresses the mixture of both: situations where people are stationary at times, mobile at times, and where people on the move, e.g., service crews in the field, stay in touch with stationary units. For example, how can large-scale media-spaces be adopted to accommodate communication over last generation cellular phones or other wireless, portable communication devices?

Participating partners: TCO, Per-Erik Boivie; Telia, Lars Lindblad; Vattenfall, Kim Alpgård.
Observing partners: The Swedish Handicap Institute.
From CID: Sören Lenman, Minna Räsänen, Björn Thuresson, Bo Westerlund.
Additional collaboration: Mats Erixon, Advanced Media Technology Lab, KTH, Charlie Gullström, Gullström Architects AB Anders Wiberg, ATK arbetsliv
Funding for “Community-at-a-Distance” is provided by the Development Council – Government Sector, the Stockholm County Council, Vinnova, and the Stockholm County Police
Equipment and fibre for “Community-at-a-Distance” is sponsored by Norrtälje Energi, Nilings AB, Offecct AB, Panasonic, Stokab, and Telia AB
Time period: January 2000–December 2003

Digital Environments
The goal of Digital Environments is to study how digital, virtual environments
can be used for representation (image and sound), learning, and for mediating human-to-human interaction and communication. All kinds of digital environments could be of interest. However, currently the project focuses on three-dimensional, virtual and hybrid environments. Applications mainly concern exhibitions in museums and other public environments.

Museums and exhibitions is a multidisciplinary project that aims at bringing together current research on museums, learning, technology and user-centred design. First, we want to investigate how educational goals of museum exhibitions can be supported by modern computer technologies. We are experimenting with technologies that can facilitate “living exhibitions” that are allowed to change as they are on display. Second, we want to involve visitors throughout the exhibition production cycle. How can the user-centred design process be adapted to the museum domain? How does user involvement influence the resulting exhibition?

Visitor Orientation Places and environments come as corporeal, such as museums, or incorporeal, such as web sites, chat places, communities, and 3D worlds. The central questions of this research concerns how it is that incorporeal, soft places arise. How is it we find ourselves at home or not at home in soft places? What kind of implications is there on interaction design if a perspective of visitors to places is adopted rather than the traditional perspective of users in HCI? The results are of general importance for the design of soft (virtual) places for representation and communication.

Art of Memory The aim is to investigate how 3D, virtual environments can be used to support memorization and learning. “Art of Memory” is a memorisation-aiding technique with ancient roots. It involves using imaginary or physical places, e.g., a museum to act as scaffolding for remembering information. Two central principles of the Art of Memory are visualisation and association, i.e., information is associated with visualised locations and artefacts. Are 3D environments efficient for this purpose? How should they be designed? Historically locations and artefacts were chosen to maximise engagement in the subject. We try to reflect this in the design of our 3D environments.

Virtual Reality for Spatial Navigation Training Service personnel often have to enter unfamiliar sites, such as automated power generating stations, to perform critical tasks. It has been widely suggested that Virtual Environments (VE) are effective training media. The aim of this project is to evaluate how familiarisation training in a VE can facilitate navigation and location of objects in the real environment. What are the requirements on VE design and on representation techniques in order for familiarisation to be efficient?

Other activities:
A supporting activity in the area of Digital Environments is the development of Wasa, a toolkit for building interactive 3D applications. Other projects and activities are CyberMath, a shared virtual environment for exploring mathematics, Expressive Avatars, the representation of people in 3D environments, and exploring Cinema Conventions (like the use of establishing shot and dialogue editing) for supporting navigation in 3D.

Participating partners: LO, Filis Sigala; Swedpower, Kim Alpgård, Sofia Lundberg, Johan Söderbom.
Observing partners: Lernia; TCO.
Other Partners: The Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm
From CID: Anders Hedman, Pär Bäckström, Sören Lenman, Olle Sundblad, Åke Walldius, Gustav Taxén, Björn Thuresson.
Time period: January 2002–June 2003.

Interactive Digital Broadcast Media

In the project Interactive Digital Broadcast Media one focus is on the possibilities for a redirection of interactive broadcast programs. How could they be turned into integrated products that consist of content and seamlessly integrated interactive services that, for example, provide for real-time access to other related content? Another focus is on the study of the development of media in the digital age. Internet, an evolution or a revolution?

Participating partners:
Teracom; Utbildingsradion.
Observing partners: The Swedish Handicap Institute.
From CID: Anders Hedman, Eva-Maria Jacobsson, Sören Lenman, Björn Thuresson
Time period: January 2002–December 2002.

SHAPE, SHAred mixed reality in Public Environments (EU-project)
This project is part of the Disappearing computer initiative within FET (Future
Emerging Technologies). The use of mixed reality is developed and studied by university departments in public environments, especially museums in Stockholm, London (Science Museum with Kings College), Nottingham and Limerick.

From CID:
John Bowers (co-ordinator), Sten-Olof Hellström, Gustav Taxén, Helena Tobiasson.
Other participants: Universities of Limerick and Nottingham; King's College London; The Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm, Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Main funding: EU IST-FET-DC-initiative.
Time period: Jan 2001–Dec 2003.

Updated 2003-03-05

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  Vy i Active Worlds, en avatar på besök i vår 3D värld.
Interacting in VideoSpace.

En 3D värld som gjordes för empiriska studier inom området MDI.
A 3D world used in an empirical study concerning graphical and interaction design.