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Figure: User dancing in a perceptive space and generating graphics.

We live in 3-D spaces, and our most important experiences are interactions with other people. We are used to moving around rooms, working at desktops, and spatially organizing our environment. We've spent a lifetime learning to competently communicate with other people. Part of this competence undoubtedly involves assumptions about the perceptual abilities of the audience. This is the nature of people.

It follows that a natural and comfortable interface may be designed by taking advantage of these competences and expectations. Instead of strapping on alien devices and weighing ourselves down with cables and sensors, we should build remote sensing and perceptual intelligences into the environment. Instead of trying to recreate a sense of place by strapping video-phones and position/orientation sensors to our heads, we should strive to make as much of the real environment as possible responsive to our actions.

Very few remote-sensing technologies live up to these goals; humans have evolved to primarily use vision and audition as their sources of perceptual information. We have therefore chosen to build vision and audition systems to obtain the necessary detail of information about the user. We have specifically avoided solutions that require invasive methods: like special clothing, unnatural environments, or even radio microphones.

This paper describes a collection of technology and experiments aimed at investigating this domain of interactive spaces. Section 2 describes some our solutions to the non-invasive interface problem. Section 3 discusses some of the design challenges involved in applying these solutions to specific application domains.

Christopher R. Wren
Thu Jul 10 10:04:10 EDT 1997