Research Projects

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Coterie (1999-2001)

A visualization of the conversational dynamics of an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel. Through Coterie, viewers can see the social patterns that underlie the text interactions between conversants. Using the chat messages posted to an IRC channel by users, Coterie builds statistical models for individual and channel-level interaction based on existing real-world sociometric models. Coterie also automatically separates out conversations using a conversation model based on a word usage algorithm. This information is then presented to the viewer through a novel display based on models for real-world small group interaction, which allows the viewer to see historical patterns of user interaction, such as a user's verbosity, as well as channel-level patterns, such as cohesiveness.

Software and Thesis available for download


TeleAction (2000-2001)

Collaborative tele-presence and tele-direction. TeleAction is an interaction framework that allows a physically distributed group of people (the Directors) to collaboratively direct a control-limited, remote agent. This agent can be a person (the Actor) or a robot, in a real or virtual environment. All Directors receive a broadcast from the remote agent, and can, as a community, vote on what the agent will do next. We are developing an entertainment application, in which the Director community watches and directs an Actor within a real-world environment, and a collaborative gaming application, in which one group of Directors collaboratively plays chess with another group of Directors.


CurlyCart (2001)

Life-sized remote controlled car. CurlyCart is a modified PowerWheels car that can record and play back your driving commands. Based on the CurlyBot by Phil Frei and Curly by Golan Levin, the CurlyBot is a simple yet powerfully interactive device that represents how simple intelligence can fundamentally change how you interact with an object. With a computer attached, the CurlyCart can be both an input device for complex motion, and a playback device for user-programmed motion.


VisualWho for Java (1999-2001)

Visual Who is a tool for visualizing the complex relationships among a large group of items where each item is characterized by a set of attributes drawn from a large pool of possible attributes.Visual Who can be used to investigate a wide range of datasets. Our focus is on its social use -- as a way for members of a community to explore and come to understand the roles, ideas and histories that bring them together.

Software available for download


LaserWho (1999-2001)

LaserWho is an interactive, gesture-based visualization of the affiliations within a community. It combines the Sociable Media Group's Visual Who project with the Responsive Environments Group's Laser Wall. Although LaserWho uses data visualization algorithms and techniques, the feel of this installation is very different from the typical analytic application. The image is shown on a large, rear-projection screen. All input is via natural, intuitive gestures of picking up and placing objects – an innovative laser ranging-finding system allows for fast, accurate hand-tracking.


CoterieGL (2000)

CoterieGL is a version of Coterie (described above) that uses a more abstract, 3D display for visualizing in real-time the activity in an IRC chat channel. This project is a departure from other visualization techniques I have worked with; Based more on traditional Information Visualization, CoterieGL uses a very abstract representation for a group and its activity level: Every second, another slice is drawn onscreen, with each person's particular activity level at that moment shown as a distance from the edge of the circle. A three-dimensional display is built up using many time-slices, and can be interactively rotated to see the entire figure.


Ambient DayPanner (1999)

The Ambient Dayplanner is a projected wall clock displaying time and short-term scheduled appointments. It provides a tangible interface for setting the reminder time, and has both public and private displays. The ambient quality of the clock allows it to fade into the environment, while occasional sounds and a small mirror reflecting light from the display onto the desktop keep the user peripherally informed about the immediacy of upcoming appointments without being intrusive.


CoNNeCTioNS (1999)

CoNNeCTioNS attempts to represent the organic qualities of social interaction through the use of tangible beads. Necklaces of beads contain entire portraits of their owner, and when a bead is traded, it takes a "fuzzy" subset of that portrait with it. When connected to another person's necklace, a bead will slowly influence that person's portrait, mediated by the amount of time spent connected to those beads and frequency of such encounters.


PainterlyVisualization (1998)

This is an early attempt at Social Visualization. In PainterlyVisualization, a large set of human data--gathered using a web form--is visualized using abstract painting technques. This visualization style is a departure from traditional Information Visualization techniques in that it tries to give a "feel" for the underlying data without needing to be quantitatively exact. Because it use abstract painting techniques, PainterlyVisualization can encode a large amount of information in a small space; Shape, stroke size, stroke direction, rotation, hue, saturation, brightness, alpha, and other brush characteristics can all carry information, creating a visually pleasing and immensely informative display.


Canard (1995-1999)

Canard is a multi-modal, intelligent community messaging system. It provides to an established or emerging social community a messaging environment that allows that community to expand beyond its phyiscal boundaries. Through the use of multiple interfaces for messaging, including two-way text pagers, web pages, instant messaging, phone messaging, and community whiteboards and LED displays, the members of the community can interact with each other easily and fluidly even though they may be separated by large physical distances. Canard provides intelligent routing: a user can simply tell the system to message "Jon", and Canard will figure out who "Jon" refers to, and properly route the message to him using the appropriate interface--a web page if he's at his computer, or a text page if he's on the road.


PeopleWeb (1998)

PeopleWeb is a system to extract, from text communications between people, data about each person's interests and their connections to other people. By parsing the email of a group of people--using pre-existing and generic text analysis packages--PeopleWeb discovers the social network within that group of people. It then further determines who is an expert on what subject (based on simple metrics) and assigns a direction of information flow to each connection between two people. Using self-organizing graphs, this information flow network is displayed to the user. The internal information-flow map is constantly updated to ensure that this information is kept timely.


CubeBox (1997)

CubeBox was the first Community-based MP3 Jukeboxes. By using CubeBox to play and upload songs, a community can self-moderate the type of music that is be played automatically by the system. CubeBox keeps statistics about how often songs are queued and de-queued, and is able to determine the most popular songs at any given time without explicit using an explicit rating scheme.


+Art (1997)

+Art is a unique display media for the black and white art of Radek Szczesny. A collaborative project with Rebecca Ross and Eric Plosky, +Art is made from six networked Macintosh Plus computers, arranged in a three-by-two grid and placed within a wooden jail. Running custom software, +Art uses the screens of all six computers as a large display space, and runs a slideshow of nine paintings. This piece was shown at NYU's Gallatin Art Show in 1997.

page last updated 11/2/2001