Seth Hunter Thesis Defense: WaaZam! Supporting Creative Play at a Distance in Personalized Video Environments

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Pattie Maes
Seth Hunter

Conventional video mediated communication technologies provide a live window between remote spaces but do not support users who want to create and interact together the same virtual space. Seth Hunter will present the design and implementation of WaaZam, a merged telepresence application that allows users to create personalized play environments. The goal of the project is to facilitate more engaging and creative play experiences for adults and children when they are geographically separated.

Hunter will present the results of a formal evaluation of families using WaaZam in four conditions: separate windows, magic mirror, provided fantastic sets, and personalized worlds. Across these conditions we measure play patterns, mutuality, engagement, and attention. He also presents key insights from our observations and interviews of participants on the potential benefits of customization.

The defense will also include an overview of other domains applications of merged VMC systems and an open source network protocol we developed for the WaaZam project to synchronize audio, video, depth, and metadata between peer-to-peer clients. The protocol is based on GStreamer libraries will be of interest to open Frameworks developers who want to connect remote applications without deep knowledge of network protocols or NAT traversal techniques.

Host/Chair: Pattie Maes


V. Michael Bove, Mitchel Resnick

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