Monkey Business: Creating social awareness among distributed group members, using a network of animatronic agents (presenteras på svenska)
Opponent: Helena Bergström
Everyday work frequently involves communicating,coordinating and
collaborating with others. In many cases employees are situated in geographically distributed offices, and hence lack a general sense of their co-workers’ current activities and availability. At present, many
companies invest money in communication systems that enable formal interactions, such as video conferencing. There are however few technologies that focus on supporting spontaneous and informal social communication, and awareness.
^p^pFor this thesis, I propose evaluating a novel communication system, developed by students in the Speech Interface Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, which supports everyday collaboration within distributed workgroups and provides the users with a sense of awareness. The
system consists of a network of animatronic agents which are situated in the offices of each member in a group. By listening for changes in activity in remote offices and representing, the agents can provide the group members with information about other members’ current activities and availability. The information is conveyed through subtle movements, gestures and sounds. The users can then make decisions based on the provided information.
^p^pThis thesis project focuses on evaluating the behaviors and sounds of the animatronic agents. The goals of this project are two-fold.
First, I aim to attain a set of behaviors that the users find intuitive and straight-forward. Second, I want to achieve an appropriate level of intrusiveness, where the agents are active at
the peripheral of the users’ attention, but still intrusive enough to push their way into the foreground when necessary.