September 5th, 2019
Mediated Communication

I am interested in how people communicate with video, from early media spaces to communication apps.

Early in my career, I was responsible for managing the development of IVIS, the industry's first interactive videodisc system, Producer, a multimedia authoring language and over 30 computer-based education products, all developed with a toolkit I designed and implemented. Later projects at Digital, MIT and Xerox included: the NavDisc (mixed real images from Penobscot Bay, Maine, with computer-generated images to create a dynamic multimedia navigation simulation), Video Boxer (based on the Boxer language), the first generalized Wizard of Oz prototyping tool (used to test intelligent tutoring strategies), EVA (exploratory data analysis of multimedia data), DIVA (a stream-based editor for managing and analyzing temporal data, particularly video, recently updated as DASE), and the world’s first international media space, WAVE (connecting design and manufacturing engineers in England and the Netherlands, in 1984).

Our work on Communication Apps (or Comm Apps) offers an alternative view of ambient intelligence, providing simple, single-function devices for close family members to stay in touch. My group has developed a variety of systems to support remote couples (MissU, WeMe, Nightboard), families (MirrorSpace, MessageProbe, VideoProbe, Tokitok) and the elderly (MirrorSpace, MarkerClock), and multimedia devices for children, including Tangicam (using a frame to take and control photos), SketchCam (for ‘sketching’ with real images) and StoryTable (a video ‘puppet theater’). These ideas led to two patents, a follow-on project (Buena Vista) and a Digiteo OMTE technology transfer project (ICI-TV), with a CEA startup (Praesto). Our more recent work has continued to explore how couples create communication places within app ecosystems and how designers and developers communicate and exchange design requirements.

In the wider context of mediated communication, we have studied how maker communities share and remix physical designs, how authors collaborate on wikibooks. We have also explored distributed communication in wall-sized environments: Cobi combines human and system expertise to schedule tasks on a wall-sized display; and Camray, a camera array integrated into a wall-sized display, offers two techniques for tracking the live image of each collaborator according to the type of task.

Work on video and video-mediated communication at DEC, MIT, Xerox and Inria, leading to many projects such as the EVA and DIVA video analysis tools and WAVE, the first international media space connecting design and manufacturing engineers in England and the Netherlands, in 1994. As part of the EU-funded project Interliving in the early 2000, she created the concept of Communication Apps to help family members stay in touch using different media, long before the advent of social networks. This work led to two patents and a technology transfer with a startup, and the highly cited paper on Technology Probes.