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Dissertation Defense

Natalia Marmasse:
"Providing Lightweight Telepresence in Mobile Communication to Enhance Collaborative Living"

Wednesday, July 7, 2004, 11:00 AM EST

Bartos Theatre, MIT Media Lab (E15)

Christopher Schmandt
Principal Research Scientist
MIT Media Laboratory

Deb K. Roy
AT&T Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
MIT Media Laboratory

Joseph L. Dvorak, PhD
Distinguished Member of Technical Staff

Two decades of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) research has addressed how people work in groups and technologys role in the workplace. This body of work has resulted in a myriad of deployed technologies with underlying theories and evaluations. It is our hypothesis that similar technologies, and lessons learned from this domain, can also be employed outside the workplace to help people get on with life. The group in this environment is a special set of people with whom we have day-to-day relationships, people who are willing to share intimate personal information. Therefore we call this computer-supported collaborative living.

This thesis describes a context-aware personal communicator in the form of a watch, intended to keep intimate friends and family always connected via awareness cues, text and voice instant message, or synchronous voice connectivity. Sensors worn with the watch track location (via GPS), acceleration, and speech activity; these are classified and conveyed to the other party, where they appear in iconic form on the watch face, providing a lightweight form of telepresence. When a remote person with whom this information is shared examines it, their face appears on the watch of the person being checked on. A number of design criteria defined for collaborative living systems are illustrated through this device. We address the need for designs best suited for linking public spaces and present a series of design criteria for incorporating mediated communication between public and semi-public spaces.

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