The Augmented Office Environments project seeks to explore and evaluate the addition of visual peripheral displays to human-computer interfaces. Often discussed in the context of ubiquitous computing and augmented environments, these displays are envisioned as a natural extension to traditional computing in a work setting. In particular, we are interested in leveraging projected displays as peripheral interfaces that complement existing focal work areas, and supporting the natural flow of work across these two settings.
We are working to design and build an interface for individual office workers that uses projected visual displays to extend their virtual workspace past the confines of their desktop monitors. This system, Kimura, uses the peripheral displays to assist users in managing multiple “working contexts” — coherent sets of tasks typically involving the use of multiple documents, tools, and communications with others. Background activities (working contexts) are visualized on the peripheral displays as a montage of images garnered from desktop computer activity logs, and help remind the user of past actions. Additionally, montages serve as anchors for background awareness information that can be gleaned from a context-aware infrastructure. Supporting interaction with the montages, and their integration with background contextual cues represents a key contribution of our research.