Information Ecology
How to create seamless and pervasive connections between our physical environments and information resources.
We have become reliant on digital information for communication, commerce, and entertainment. This information needs to be always available, whether stored locally on our computers, on enterprise servers at work, or via third-party services like GMail. Most importantly, we should have choices beyond desktop computers or smartphones to access it. The Information Ecology group explores ways to connect our physical environments with information resources. Through the use of low-cost, ubiquitous technologies such as sensors and consumer electronics, we are creating seamless and pervasive ways to interact with our information—and with each other.

Research Projects

  • 8D Display

    Henry Holtzman, Matt Hirsch and Shahram Izadi

    The 8D Display combines a glasses-free 3D display (4D light field output) with a relightable display (4D light field input). The ultimate effect of this extension to our earlier BiDi Screen project will be a display capable of showing physically realistic objects that respond to scene lighting as we would expect. Imagine a shiny virtual teapot in which you see your own reflection, a 3D model that can be lighted with a real flashlight to expose small surface features, or a virtual flashlight that illuminates real objects in front of the display. As the 8D Display captures light field input, gestural interaction as seen in the BiDi Screen project is also possible.

  • ShAir: A Platform for Mobile Content Sharing

    Yosuke Bando, Daniel Dubois, Konosuke Watanabe and Henry Holtzman

    ShAir is a platform for instantly and easily creating local content-shareable spaces without requiring an Internet connection or location information. ShAir-enabled devices can opportunistically communicate with other mobile devices and optional pervasive storage devices such as WiFi SD cards whenever they enter the radio range of each other. Digital content can hop through devices in the background without user intervention. Applications that can be built on top of the platform include ad-hoc photo/video/music sharing and distribution, opportunistic social networking and games, digital business card exchange during meetings and conferences, and local news article sharing on trains and buses.

  • The Glass Infrastructure (GI)

    Henry Holtzman, Andy Lippman, Jon Ferguson and Julia Shuhong Ma

    This project builds a social, place-based information window into the Media Lab using 30 touch-sensitive screens strategically placed throughout the physical complex and at sponsor sites. The idea is get people to talk among themselves about the work that they jointly explore in a public place. We present Lab projects as dynamically connected sets of "charms" that visitors can save, trade, and explore. The GI demonstrates a framework for an open, integrated IT system and shows new uses for it.