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IBM Cambridge Research Center

  Project: "In Your Space" Computing

Researchers: Dan Gruen and Steve Rohall

A Collaborative User Experience Project:

This project explores a variety of ways to bridge the gap between the physical and electronic spaces in which people work. These two types of working spaces are becoming more and more disconnected as colleagues work together on-line rather than face to face. Our research has taken us in several directions. One approach has been to set up casual displays, such as large LED signs, to provide information relevant to a group in their physical spaces. Casual displays are intended to exist in the background of the workspace. Other potential strategies include projecting demos of collaborative work in a physical public space, or creating electronic whiteboards for easier group collaborative meetings.
At the same time, we are working on ways to represent peripheral awareness of co-workers’ presence and activity. We know that this awareness greatly enhances productivity and nurtures collaboration. In one experiment, we connected a desk lamp to Sametime’s ability to register online presence, so that the lamp turns on or off to reflect a co-worker’s electronic activity. A major design goal for this project is to use readily available, off-the-shelf devices, components, and protocols, so that people can use them easily in their own settings with information that is meaningful to them.