Monkey business : creating social awareness among distributed group members, using a network of animatronic agents
Author(s)Kern, Rachel Lori
Creating social awareness among distributed group members, using a network of animatronic agents
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program In Media Arts and Sciences
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Members of a geographically distributed group are not normally aware of each other's presence or current activities. For example, two members of a team may be working on the same project, but they may have offices in different parts of a building. This geographical separation prevents them from knowing when the other has arrived in the morning, or if the other is busy or available, and it generally leads to a lack of awareness about the other's activities. It also tends to limit spontaneous and informal interaction among teammates. For this thesis, I have built a prototype of a system to keep distributed members of a group aware of each other's presence and activities in a light-hearted manner, while striving to remain non-intrusive. The system also aims to facilitate unplanned and informal communication among distributed colleagues. It consists of a network of animatronic agents, specifically monkeys, which are situated in the offices or rooms of each member of a group. Through subtle movements and sounds, the monkeys indicate the presence of the other members of the group. The monkeys are meant to be ambient, at the periphery of one's attention.(cont.) But they can also be used more proactively as communication mechanisms, and promote informal exchanges among members of a distributed team. The objective of this research is to consider whether such a system can be helpful in keeping members of groups more connected and in providing greater social awareness and cohesiveness among them. I have also explored whether animatronic agents are a good medium for communicating useful ambient information in a non-disruptive manner, and if they are capable of facilitating spontaneous communication. Finally, I have tried to determine the right combination of motion and sound in order for the monkeys to communicate information effectively and intuitively among group members.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2006.Includes bibliographical references (p. 77-78).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program In Media Arts and Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Architecture. Program In Media Arts and Sciences