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  Interactive Workspace  
    Executive summary  

Many application domains such as architecture, engineering, industrial design, city planning, environmental supervision, health care etc. share the properties of users working collaboratively with complex mixtures of physical and digital materials. Studies in such domains show that it is hard to maintain and integrate these heterogeneous materials in traditional desktop computing environments.

Our thesis is that pervasive computing technologies can be developed to support a more natural user collaboration in a rich variety of application. This may be achieved by going beyond the traditional computer user interfaces, on the one hand imploding them into small devices and appliances, and on the other hand exploding them onto large scale walls, buildings and furniture.

The goal of this research area is to provide an experimental environment for pervasive computing projects aiming at utilizing augmented reality, interactive building elements, and mobile devices to support new ways of working in a diversity of application domains with work situations ranging from individual work, through local collaboration, to distributed collaboration. The work situations may take place in offices/project rooms or in the field. The types of tasks may range from adhoc to more planned forms of interaction. We involve users from specific application domains and use settings continuously in our research following a participatory design approach.

Research themes
We call the augmented work environments we are working on for Interactive Workspaces. The overall research themes for the Interactive Workspaces area are to design augmented reality support for collaboration between people:

  • in the same location
  • in distributed organizations
  • in the field

This involves the utilization of the environment (walls, furniture, objects) as well as small wireless and mobile devices as computing components. Moreover, it involves bridging the gap between physical and digital worlds. We call the technological infrastructure developed Spatial Computing Environments, emphasizing:

1) that computing takes place inside many artefacts/components of the distributed spaces and fields;

2) computing tracks objects and people and affects the physical spaces through projections, sound, light etc.

The development of infrastructure and prototypes of spatial computing environments is a central theme. The research is interdisciplinary involving computer science, architecture and sociology and other disciplines.

Partnership activities
The area participants currently contribute to networking activities on Future Home and Intelligent Building Technology. Two PhD projects and 5 Master thesis projects are on going in the area.

Finally, a proposal for a new so-called eDesign education combining IT and architecture is being formulate

Lab facilities
The Interactive Workspaces lab is 125 square meters equipped with wireless net, a number of stationary PCs, projectors and various mobile devices and furniture. The lab facilitates experiments and projects. The lab includes both software and hardware components and artefacts to build spatial computing environments, and it will embed these in examples of real settings of use.

The goal of the lab activities is to support projects with spatial computing components that go beyond existing augmented reality and collaborative virtual environments in terms of their ability to bring information objects (documents, CAD models, etc.) “out of the computer” and into the collaborative physical spaces as tangible objects that integrate in more natural ways with physical materials in people’s work environments than does the traditional document in a scrolling window on a monitor

The area has a number of projects associated:

  • The EU funded WorkSPACE project
  • T he Center for Multimedia funded Virtual Project Room demonstrator project
  • The CIP funded project DISPU

Moreover, a number of smaller projects on Video Analysis support with Danfoss, and a Design Collaboratorium experiment on remote control design at B&O have been accomplished. A project with Eyegonomics on design of display devices is being established. The Aarhus School of Architecture (AAA) and a number of companies are involved in the work.

The following institutions are partners in on or more of the projects associated the Interactive Workspaces area:

People / Scientific staff

  • Kaj Grønbæk (Area Manager)
  • Michael Christensen
  • Jannie Friis-Kristensen
  • Tina-Henriette Kristiansen
  • Peter Krogh
  • Preben Mogensen
  • Tina Møller-Nielsen
  • Peter Ørbæk.

For a list of publications see area site

Related projects
Interactive Room Appliances in the Flexible Office
Nomadic Work and the Flexible Office
Virtual Project Room
Area Site
Interactive Workspace Laboratorium
Area Manager
Kaj Grønbæk

Dept. of Computer Science
University of Aarhus
Aabogade 34
8200 Århus N

Phone: +45 8942 5636
Fax: +45 8942 5624

   CfPC©, updated: 14-nov-05