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Bill Buxton

The Ontario Telepresence Project was initiated around 1990 and continuted until about 1994.  It was funded by the Ontario Government, and, as it was focused on collaboration at a distance, it was split between Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario.  (We made sure that we ate our own dog food.)  The work was closely linked with the Mediaspace and Ubiquitous Computing Projects at Xerox PARC, since I was splitting my time between PARC, and being Scientific Director of the OTP.  The core of our software, the iiif server, began its life at Xerox's Cambridge EuroPARC (Buxton & Moran, 1990), was further refined by the OTP, and then ended up being used to drive the Mediaspace at PARC.

I shut the project down in 1994, despite the posibility of continuation of funding, when I was asked to submit a business plan, rather than a research plan.  But that is another story.

Note:  To play any of the videos, just click on the associated thumbnail.   I am in the process of uploading full-resolution copies of these videos onto YouTube.  If the video that you want to play is still in low-res Flash, contact me and I will attempt to upload it ASAP.  For your information, all of the videos that I have uploaded onto YouTube appear in the channel: wasbuxton.
Door Mouse
(1 min. 10 sec.)
University of Toronto
This is work done by my student Andrea Leganchuk.  Sadly, she never published it.  "Doorstates" and the doormouse are an early example of "ambient intelligence", or what we call "proximal sensing," or "reactive environments."  The problem addressed is this, when you have the "infomration highway right to your door, how do you control access and availablity?"  Our general design philosophy was, whenever posible, use the same social protocols for virtual visitations as for physical ones. Hence, if my  door was the prime cue to communicate my accessibility to someone in the physical corridor,  then let that same physical door be the mechanism to communicate my accessibility to those coming down the virtual corridor.  Hence, Andrea's wonderful solution was  to instrument my physical door with the guts of a second mouse that was connected to my computer, and then drove the resulting application, "Doorstates."

Buxton, W. (1997). Living in Augmented Reality: Ubiquitous Media and Reactive Environments. In K. Finn, A. Sellen & S. Wilber (Eds.). Video Mediated Communication. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 363-384. An earlier version of this chapter also appears in Proceedings of Imagina '95, 215-229.

(4 min. 11 sec.)
University of Toronto
This video demonstrates the use of what could be called "video surrogates" to afford the use of spatial cues that are found in face-to-face conversation, and which support gaze awareness, turn taking, and parallel conversations.

Sellen, A., Buxton, W. & Arnott, J. (1992).Using spatial cues to improve videoconferencing. Proceedings of CHI '92, 651-652.

"Extra Eyes"
(1 min. 53 sec.)
University of Toronto
Most video conferencing systems focus on the remote person or object that are central to the purpose of the meeting.  In comparison to same-place meetings, one has very little sense of the background or periphery.  This system shows one approach of maintaining an awareness of both the foreground and the periphery.

Yamaashi, K., Cooperstock, J., Narine, T. & Buxton, W. (1996). Beating the limitations of camera-monitor mediated telepresence with extra eyes Proceeding of CHI '96, 50-57

ConEd: Video Conversation Analysis Tool
(1 min. 24 sec.)
University of Toronto
This is a brief demonstration of some of the techniques that we developed as part of the Telepresence and Cavecat projects to analyse data recorded  on audio and video tape.  It is of additional interest in that it was one of the first applications into which we incorporated radial or "marking" menus.

Kurtenbach, G. & Buxton, W. (1994). User learning and performance with marking menus. Proceedings of CHI '94, 258-264.