The main objetive of the project is to create a virtual space in which people can interact freely by means of techniques specially designed for this purpose. The space created, in this case a virtual amusement center, is merely a support that enables users separated by distance to communicate and spend their leisure time together, breaking down any physical and even cultural barriers. The virtual space created is a medium specially conceived and created to facilitate interactions between people through their representations in the space. This representation and the media provided at any time for use in interaction with others will seek to cover all the relevant aspects to enable proper social relations. Media will be supplied to create an individual representation and a singular behaviour that reflects each userīs personality. Tools will be included to reflect the real or ficticious state of mind of users at any time. Techniques for reflecting interactions and awareness of this interaction to second and third parties will be developed.
The space includes activities with different degrees of complexity and participation, going from the simple Free and Board Games to the complex and more participative Show Games, which are games played by opponent groups in a contest, simulating the type of games that are often seen on television and which may include prizes. They will include a moderator or leader and, more importantly, an audience. There will be two types of audience, in site audience and at home audience, and tools will be devised to generate visual and auditive representations for this collective participation. We will also develop techniques for conducting these show games and novel techniques to devise and design interactions with the audience.
The amusement center will be divided into two storeys. National games known only by people from determinated countries will be played on the first floor, having one department per country. And the second floor will be the international floor, where games known by all are played and there is no common language. Communication channels will be built in order to overcome linguistic barriers in this floor. A Multilingual Set of Common Sentences conducted by the internal state of the user, and a Universal Symbolic Language will be devised. We will also study the use of a Restricted Natural Language in an environment like this amusement center.
Particular aspects concerning virtual environments like Security Policies, or Authentication Mechanisms will also be treated. A solution for the problems of Virtual Simultaneity and Minimal Information Needed in the form of a methodology for characterizing and prioritizing the features of a complex scene will be devised, and a strategy and a tool for broadcasting information for a massive audience will be developed.
Finally, evolutionary techniques will be used to generate original and autonomous representations and behaviours, which will adapt to the environment, scene or game currently running without the supervision of the user. Broadcasting techniques will be used to support this evolution in a massive participation.
The results of the project in the form of techniques and tools will be validated using an expert pool and a set of users. Validated results will be communicated through participation in conferences, workshops and journals. Press will also be contacted.
The project aims at supporting the dynamical exchange of information and experiences between the Community of People living in Historical Cities of Arts and Culture, their local cultural resources, and foreign visitors. The overall goal is to enable people to interact and cooperate in building a new, richer sense of community based on exchange of knowledge sedimented over the cultural resources.
The two local communities considered in the project, one area of the city of Venezia and the city of Chania in Greece (Crete), have the characteristic to own and maintain a very solid culture and memory linked to their physical territory, while sharing it with people of different cultures coming from all over the world.
The project is aimed at creating new tools, technologies and solutions to enhance the overlap and the exchange of the permanent, static, deep-rooted local culture with the foreign and temporary traces of people with different cultures within the local physical environment.
The project will define and implement an interaction medium supporting the information flow among the communities of cultural managers, visitors and local residents.
The project is based on innovative interaction technologies such as ubiquitous computing technologies (electronic whiteboards such as LiveBoards, multi-function devices for printing, scanning and copying), paper based interfaces (intelligent bar-codes, glyphs), multimedia knowledge-bases, hypermedia-based electronic publishing, social computing technologies (MUDs multi-user dungeons), collaborative workflows, information retrieval technologies, multi-lingual comprehension aids.
It will be developed with a humanistic, integrated design-oriented approach that will combine the social observation of the test beds with the generation of new interaction concepts and scenarios.
The COMRIS project aims to develop, demonstrate and experimentally evaluate a scalable approach to integrating the Inhabited Information Spaces schema with a concept of software agents. The COMRIS vision of co-habited mixed-reality information spaces emphasizes the co-habitation of software and human agents in a pair of closely coupled spaces, a virtual and a real one. However, this project does not pursue the perceptual integration of real and virtual space into an augmented reality. Instead the coupling aims at focusing the large potential for useful social interactions in each of the spaces, so that they become more manageable, goal-directed and effective.
The COMRIS project uses the conference center as the thematic space and concrete context of work. The conference center is a structure of places for registration, presentation, refreshment, and so on. At a conference, like the Annual Esprit meeting in Brussels, people gather to show their results, see other interesting things, find interesting people, meet EU officials in person, or engage in any kind of discussion. The possibilities of interaction at such an event are enormous, it is very information-intensive, and the great diversity of topics and purposes that are being addressed make it difficult to get everything done. This clearly motivates our aim of focusing a large potential for interaction such that effectiveness of participation to such or another large event is enhanced.
In the mixed-reality conference center real and virtual conference activities are going on in parallel. Each participant wears its personal assistant, an electronic badge and ear-phone device, wirelessly hooked into an Intranet. This personal assistant - the COMRIS parrot - realizes a bidirectional link between the real and virtual spaces. It observes what is going on around its host (whereabouts, activities, other people around), and it informs its host about potentially useful encounters, ongoing demonstrations that may be worthwhile attending, and so on. This information is gathered by several personal representatives, the software agents that participate on behalf of a real person in the virtual conference. Each of these has the purpose to represent, defend and further a particular interest or objective of the real participant, including those interests that this participant is not explicitly attending to.
The project brings together ideas from different backgrounds (software agents, virtuality, networking, robotics, machine learning, social science) into a coherent concept and technical approach. Hardware challenges (e.g. the parrot on wireless Intranet) are complemented with software challenges. COMRIS pursues a radical information push model, in which information is actively imposed upon the user in its concrete minute-to-minute context of activities. The virtual space and its inhabitants is explicitly designed to facilitate this. In particular its notion of 'space' is defined as potential for interaction; not physical interaction as in real space, but interest-relating interaction. Techniques of 'interest based navigation' bring together those virtual agents whose interests are likely to fit into a productive social process. Their interactions accumulate an information context, mined from a variety of structured and unstructured sources, and related to the different interests involved. At all times, techniques of 'competition for attention' focus the interactions and in particular the stream of information towards the user.
Two major milestones, in which feasibility is demonstrated, are complemented with a series of concrete and rigorous experiments, in which the scaling properties are investigated. After two iterations, in which the COMRIS vision and demonstration objectives are gradually extended, the project will have achieved an integrated package of results, accompanied by a series of recommendations for post-project extension, technical implementation, and exploitation. Throughout the project communication and dissemination, as well as active interest gathering will further the impact. Already at this point evidence of industrial interest has been collected, and willingness to contribute material support to a full-scale demonstration has been secured.
Until recently the civilian's need to participate in the local social and cultural environment was mainly attended to through a physical infrastructure: cultural centres, public libraries, schools, museums... Since the breakthrough of telematics next to this physical environment a virtual one has emerged. So far, virtual space has mainly been used, especially on a local level, but as a billboard for the existing physical infrastructure.
co-NEXUS will design and signpost a new virtual meeting place that encounters the more ambitious and creative demands of the public domain and non-profit sector of Turnhout (B). In order to comply to the democratic goals of this sector, and to intertwine the existing physical structure with the virtual, a new paradigm will be applied. Up until now, virtual environments have been designed mainly with techniques that appeal to the sense of logic of the end user. The challenge co-NEXUS will take up is to develop a human centered interface that is based on the logic of sense co-NEXUS will: (1) render accessibly to the general public all the data that are retained by the municipality and the social and cultural organizations in a uniform and easy way (Retrieval); (2) give the end user the opportunity to express himself within this local multi-media environment (Production) In order to guarantee the accessibility co-NEXUS will be interactively designed through testgroups that are composed of the most vulnerable citizens. The local adult education organizations will act as a test floor.
co-NEXUS is an Internet project. It will use the TCP/IP protocol. Both the database, based on an automated collaborative filtering system, and the virtual workspace, based on a visual MUD system, will run under LINUX. Both applications will be used as a startingpoint for the specific needs and wishes of the co-NEXUS project. This virtual space environment will later on in the traject be integrated in the end product.
eRENA is focused on inhabited information spaces to support new forms of cultural experience spanning arts, performance and entertainment. We refer to these kinds of inhabited information spaces as electronic arenas. eRENA will involve long term research into a range of "spatial technologies", especially multi-user virtual environments, coupled to new forms of artistic content and an understanding of social interaction. There are several reasons why this research is needed:
eRENA will publicly demonstrate and evaluate the results of these research challenges through thematic spaces which provide specific examples of electronic arenas. Initially, these thematic spaces will be based on the extension of the traditional cultural forms of galleries, performances and television. In the longer term, however, we will explore entirely new cultural forms appropriate to this new medium of expression. The research challenges and thematic spaces are brought together in a detailed three year workplan.
The outcomes of eRENA will include: new techniques for individual and mass participation in producing and shaping the content of virtual arenas; new ways of structuring electronic arenas so as to afford different modes of interaction, navigation and communication in different virtual spaces or at different stages of an event; powerful new techniques for embodying humans and agents in electronic arenas; mechanisms to support dynamic crowd aggregations, including crowd representations and mechanisms for managing crowd membership; new ways for groups and individuals to interact with shared and projected displays; technical support for building structured mixed realities out of boundaries between real and virtual space; and finally, the demonstration of these techniques through a series of public exhibitions and performances which are complemented by networked experiments over BT Futures Testbed ATM Network.
The eRENA consortium brings together internationally known digital artists from ZKM and GMD; experts in multi-user virtual reality and computer animation from EPFL, Geneva, Nottingham, KTH and GMD; social scientists from Nottingham and KTH; broadcasters from Illuminations and KTH; expertise in CAVEs and other projected interfaces from GMD and BT; and networking expertise from BT.
The last three years have seen a rapid growth in the development of systems that adopt a spatial approach to the presentation of computer based information. This has been fuelled by the increasingly ubiquitous nature of the Internet and the maturing of 3D interaction techniques. This initial shift has been recognised in the Inhabited Information Spaces schema of the I3 initiative. However, despite the large number of research and commercial explorations into virtual environments (including shared, multi-user virtual environments), little or no consideration has been given to the development of heterogeneous large scale landscapes capable of allowing a wide range of different spaces to coexist. Rather an insular approach has been pursued with each virtual environment being relatively separate from others. This sets the research challenge of developing techniques which will allow a wide variety of different approaches and spaces to co-exist successfully in a seamless manner. Recognising and supporting this diversity of space in itself requires a radical departure from existing considerations of electronic environments. Indeed, it is unlikely that we will see the wide-scale adoption of shared virtual enviroments in use by the general citizen unless attention is paid to their integration and interconnection without disrupting healthy variation between different environments as a function of their application or of the social group they support or culture they have emerged within.
The central challenge of this proposal is the means by which future large scale electronic environments will be realised. This requires fundamental research into the formation of a suitable set of paradigms for these environments and the demonstration of the application of these paradigms in practice. This research is essentially multidisciplinary in nature and one of the unique aspects of the eSCAPE proposal is that it brings together a set of previously disparate traditions to address these issues in a concerted manner.
In particular the following skills and expertise are combined with eSCAPE to extend the current limited considerations of inhabited information spaces.
The HIPS project aims at developing new interaction paradigms for navigating physical spaces. The objective of the project is to enrich the "user experience" of a city by overlapping a further dimension with the physical space: contextual and personalised information on the human environment. The main issue of this project is therefore to allow people to navigate both a physical space and a related information space at the same time, with a minimal gap between the two. This will make it possible to take advantage of an extensive electronic database about a place, while carrying out everyday working or leisure activities without being dependent on a desktop terminal or any kind of classic information system.
The community addressed by HIPS is the community of tourists. Tourists are not a community in the traditional sense, given their geographic dispersion, however they share common needs and interests (enough indeed to bring them to the same museum or city). Local citizens, a significant part of all museum visits, are a community by definition but their sense of participation can be enhanced by sharing their knowledge with others. Technology can already be used to connect these communities by exploiting the global reach of the internet, for example through human-human radiocommunication or web pages with travel tips and visit reports. HIPS can be used to do much more. Exploiting the user-model it can learn new and more effective stereotypes; it can deduce new semantic relations between objects by analysing the interactions with its users. In such a way all individual experiences can indirectly affect future visits not by directly addressing other users but by augmenting the knowledge of the community itself.
HIPS will not be just a system for distributing information, but also a means of creating and entering information and knowledge. A record of different journeys, enriched with comments, annotations, preferences etc.will be possible. This could greatly simplify the creation of new tours by experts but also allow the creation of a log for ordinary citizens' perspectives of, say, their street or area. For example Hips might allow a historian to walk around a city entering a voice commentary, sketches, and annotations that would then be available as a guided tour to any other user.
The sharing of experience will be an important aspect of the project. HIPS will envision the use of organisational memories, a sort of knowledge warehouse where the information management strategies that are appropriate for individuals break down in a shared information repository. This repository should capture and distribute the knowledge produced during the tourist's activity, making it available to other users of the community. In this way, the experience made by a user, can be shared within the community and added and modified by other similar experiences.
HIPS will demonstrate a new dimension of cultural fruition supported by technology: Notes about a visit will be automatically provided by the system (e. g. a summary) or deliberately left by the visitor (e.g. a message) for subsequent fruition both by the visitor himself, by other individuals and by the community as a whole. On one side, the visit experience will become one element that the tourists can integrate in their own cultural experience (e.g. through summaries enriched with links to additional relevant information to be explored later). On the other side, each individual experience will provide material that can be used:
I3 Intelligent Information Interfaces
The basic building blocks addressed in Living Memory are the three aspects of I3: Intelligent Information Interfaces. Each of these is addressed when applied to the creation of memory within the Connected Community schema.
From Community to Connected Community
This project addresses both the aspects of 'connected' and 'community' in 'Connected Community', and uses the assumptions that:
While current virtual community research focuses mainly on issues like identity, representation, and security, we believe that, by studying the collective memory of a real community, we are addressing the missing link, which can help develop current networked technologies into the consumer domain.
In emerging global networks, the dominant paradigm is one of connectedness. Our focus on a local, geographical community means that we can leverage on the real- life identity and connections which actually exist in the locality, and which can be enlivened with the application of new technologies.
We will provide members of a given community who live and work in a particular locality with a means to capture, share and explore their collective memory with the aim to preserve and interpret the richness and complexity of local culture. This project will therefore address the mechanisms needed for people or groups to create and 'update' their collective memory, and to make the collective memory a living, present-day phenomenon within the community.
In doing the above we will advance the state of the art in the constituent fields, namely interaction design, software agents, and multimedia technology.
The project consortium already has established contact in an Edinburgh community. The project is divided in 4 main activities which will run concurrently:
Take-up of results
Each partner will actively promote the re-use and further development of the results of Living Memory. Within the consortium many good contacts exist between people working in long-term research, industrial research programs, and business. The results of the project therefore can be easily transferred to academic research and industrial research and development programmes. At the major milestones reports will be prepared, targeted at specific groups, that translate project results within the participants' organisations.
MAYPOLE is based on the concept of connecting people, objects and places to perform a shared activity. Our goal is to explore, develop and validate application scenarios and product concepts of novel user interfaces for a communications environment that supports new kinds of interactions in a community. We focus on user interfaces for real-time information so that people can share every activities. Initially, we focus on a particular activity: parents sharing the task of taking children to school but the environement will be able to support other activities as well.
In MAYPOLE project, we propose to:
Our consortium partners have international prominence and a unique blend of specialist skills and experience of new product innovation and user interface development. Nokia, a global mobile telecommuniations leader is our technology specialist and user. IDEO Product Development, a leading international design service company is our design expert. Helsinki University of Technology and Vienna University are our usablity specialists who will work with the pilot communities. The Netherlands Design Institute is a pioneer in the use of design scenarios and have proven expertise in publishing and media communications area.
We propose to realise the project in 24 months with an estimated budget of 1.75 MECU of which we request the Commission for 1.45 MECU.
The Magic Lounge proposal shares the goals of the Schema: Inhabited Information Spaces. As the Magic Lounge is a meeting place for the members of a geographically distributed community, it shares with the Connected Community Schema the aim of stimulating the sharing of knowledge and experience between people.
So far, most computer systems have been developed for individual professional users, requiring them to train to acquire the abilities needed for operating the computer tools and largely ignoring the natural communication abilities of everybody. New developments are rapidly changing that into a situation in which everyone is becoming a computer user, benefitting from the rapidly increasing power of low-range systems, increasing communication bandwidth, networking, powerful wireless mobile systems and the proliferation of novel interactive computer hardware and peripheral devices. These developments imply a vision which the i3 initiative is bound to pursue. The vision is one of several virtually co-present, geographically distributed ordinary users communicating in natural and intuitive human ways with each other and with an all-knowing, networked computer system.
Magic Lounge is committed to demonstrating part of this vision, expecting other i3 projects to achieve complementary parts of it. A Magic Lounge is a virtual meeting place for communities of ordinary users, a 'root' information space. Vi siting the Lounge, people may just chat or make new acquaintances, which contributes to the quality of life in the community. However, they may also team up to carry out joint, goal-directed activity of an everyday kind, such as indulging in hobbies, discussing community issues, joint retrieving information from the Web, or visiting another inhabited information space, such as an Arena, a Market Place or an Academy.
The contributing environment for the work on Magic Lounge consists of (1) a representative community whose needs correspond to what the Lounge will offer. The community is the inhabitants of the many smaller islands around Denmark, represented by the Bank of Ideas of the Smaller Danish Isles, which has recently established an electronic network among the islanders. The community will participate in specifying and designing the Magic Lounge, as well as in using, testing and evaluating the three Lounge demonstrators to be developed. (2) A company, Siemens, will iteratively develop graphical versions of the Lounge information space and its inhabitants, eventually resulting in a solution designed by (3) professional designers. (4) Sociological expertise in team will investigate the interaction patterns that occur in Lounge groups composed of human and virtual members. (5) A Quality Assessment Panel from the user community, industry and academia will carry out import/export of ideas between the project and other i3 projects. (6) i3net will do most of the information dissemination from the project.
To demonstrate the potential of the Magic Lounge concept, its inhabitants will carry out conversation and iteratively engage in joint travel planning. The latter activity strings together a large number of sub-activities including the creation of a travel record using a common magic board, Web-based tools and information sources, purchasing visits paid to the Marketplace, learning visits paid to the Academy, distance exploration of sites, visits to people's homes etc.
Magic Lounge results will be: a scaleable generic platform for inhabited information spaces; three increasingly powerful Magic Lounges; intelligent multi-party communication management mechanisms which will manage, moderate, interpret and summarise multi-input channel communication between the inhabitants of information spaces; novel methods, such as speech-operated information retrieval, for embedding third-party information services; a magic whiteboard; content-based media conversion techniques coping with participants' heterogenous communication bandwidths; demonstration of natural human-human-system communication and negotiation in information spaces through innovative uses of speech and gesture; demonstration of co-present system moderator agents and of user delegate agents and their communicative capabilities; professionally designed demonstration of human-human-system cohabitation and co-presence in information spaces that is adequate from the points of view of functionality, realism, aesthetics and usability.
We propose to investigate a radically different approach to navigation, based on a personalised and social navigational paradigm. If we study how information retrieval is really done, we can see that most of it is accomplished through communication between people. We believe that there are two advantages to this: one is that the communication is done verbally rather than via some graphical interface or abstract language, and the other is that the information becomes personalised to the information seeker. This project seeks to develop our understanding of human activities in information space. Specifically we will
Most people in Europe will eventually have access to Inhabited Information Spaces (IIS). This proposal addresses the research question of how IISs will be populated with representations of real people. Our thesis is that it is fundamental that people have a representation in an IIS (an Avatar); that a standard Avatar will evolve; that the standard Avatar will be humanoid and that a person's Avatar will be very similar to the actual person.
Passport photos have been a requirement for over 80 years in Europe. We believe that a person's identity in an IIS will be his humanoid Avatar. The premise for POPULATE is that a step is required in which the reality of a person is captured to form that Avatar. In other words an Avatar kiosk will be required that is similar to a passport photo kiosk. It is our belief that the specialised equipment of an AvatarKiosk is required to capture the reality of a person - a reality that will add an enhanced dimension to an IIS - a reality that cannot be captured in the home.
The POPULATE research will address the questions:
POPULATE is a horizontal proposal within the IIS schema. Collaboration with other IIS consortia and the development of shared vision(s) of population of IISs will be an important first step. 3D Scanners will then lead the AvatarKiosk research. REM-Infografica will research into automatically generating the humanoid Avatar models from the captured data in the various formats required by IISs. Both companies will evaluate all aspects of the population of IISs by conducting user trials. If the research is successful, two European companies will be poised to dominate a very large market for AvatarKiosks in the next century.
PRESENCE focuses on one specific category of user: the elderly. The project will develop innovative new interaction strategies and methodologies for the design of technologies to support their everyday life in three areas: assistance, communications, and accessing mobility. The primary goal of the PRESENCE project is to develop new interaction paradigms with the following qualities:
These interfaces will exploit low-tech resources such as telephone and radio; existing high-tech resources such as email and the internet; and new cutting edge technologies such as modified video and audio, or active object techniques.
An important outcome of the project will be the development and dissemination of new methodologies-firstly for the design of IT products and services specifically for the elderly, building on the considerable experience of the European Design Age Network; and secondly, more generally, for the design of technologies to be used in everyday life.
The PRESENCE project connects together three community-based Test Sites with two Design Centres, supported by two Resource establishments. This intentionally allows services for three local communities to be addressed from a range of design perspectives.
The project will be based on three Test Sites that have the common objective of supporting activities and well-being of elderly people belonging to local communities. They provide a complementary range of experiences, encompassing: