In this paper we propose a virtual office environment that integrates natural communication and secure private space. The features of this system are the following. (1) This system has a virtual shared room based on the idea of 'shared room metaphor' and 3D graphics on an SGI workstation is used for this system. It uses Ethernet media (i.e. real-time audio/video streams). (2) This system implements the field of view of a human by using our 'around view' technique. This provides more natural communication between members. (3) 'Sound effects' are used to help users feel the presence of other members. For instance, members hear the sound of a door opening when someone logs into our system and the sound of footsteps when someone is walking around our virtual room. (4) At times our system limits the flow of awareness information. A person concentrating on his/her work may not want to perceive excessive awareness of others. To support such situation, we define 'awareness space' which restricts the field where other members' awareness is transmitted. Awareness space changes in size with the degree of concentration which is measured through two factors: the movement of a chair and the frequency of keyboard typing. (5) 'Headphone metaphor'. A picture of a headphone is attached above a person's image and changes color depending on the degree of concentration. This enables other members to recognize his/her state and can be a criterion as to whether he/she is available to communicate or not. (6) In the virtual space, users are represented as avatars built of 3D polygons and still pictures. The avatars change shape automatically according to the users' action.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Information Systems
- Computer Science Applications