Remixing reality: new cyber tools to merge remote workplaces

Thursday, 27 May 2010

For immediate release

Architects in studios scattered across the globe will sketch together, and geologists on fieldwork will point out landscape features to colleagues in city offices in real time if Viveka Weiley has his way.

Mr Weiley is designing new creativity-supporting digital systems that remix the real environments of colleagues working apart.

He will describe these futuristic workplaces at the Pathfinders 2010: Challenge and Change Conference at the Alice Springs Convention Centre this week (May 26–28).

“Increasingly we want to collaborate with colleagues across the country or the globe, but our tools are lacking”, said Mr Weiley, of the Australasian Cooperative Research Centre for Interaction Design, and the University of Technology Sydney.

Videoconferencing and virtual worlds were a start, but they did not support the richest forms of collaboration, he said. “Videoconferencing replicates meeting rooms,” he said. “Creative work tends not to happen in meeting rooms. The workplace of the future will look much like that of the present, but it will be augmented with unobtrusive devices that pervasively connect it to other places.”

He is working on prototypes including:

  • a low-cost camera and projection system to allow collaborators working apart to sketch together
  • digital photo frames that indicate the presence of distant collaborators
  • microprojectors to give remote collaborators a panoramic view of each other’s environment

Mr Weiley’s research took him to creative workplaces including Pixar Animation Studios in California, and into the realms of cognitive science, education theory and architectural theory.

He wants to pinpoint the elements of creative workplaces to lay the foundations of a new generation of mixed reality environments and tools. He is currently developing prototype tools for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Innovation team.

Viveka Weiley is one of eight early career scientists invited to present their research results at the Pathfinders Conference, organised by the Cooperative Research Centres Association. The CRCA represents Australia’s 50 CRCs operating under a federal government program to drive public/private sector research.

See the conference program here

See the media releases here

Information Viveka Weiley Ph 0433 992 602

Laurelle Halford (Alice Springs Convention Centre, May 26–28) Ph 0417 222 211

Email Laurelle

CRCA Media Ph 0419 250 815; Email crcamedia

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