Video User Interfaces

Peter Robinson

(University of Cambridge)

A joint project between the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and the Rank Xerox Research Centre in Cambridge has been looking at ways of using digitised video from television cameras in user interfaces for computer systems.

The DigitalDesk is built around an ordinary physical desk and can be used as such, but it has extra capabilities. A video camera is mounted above the desk, pointing down at the work surface. This camera's output is fed through a system that can detect where the user is pointing and it can read documents that are placed on the desk. A computer-driven projector is also mounted above the desk, allowing the system to project electronic objects onto the work surface and onto real paper documents.

Another approach is used in BrightBoard. A video camera is pointed at an ordinary whiteboard and its output fed into a computer. The whiteboard thus becomes an alternative means of controlling the computer.

These systems show how computers can be built into everyday objects with simple user interfaces that do not require expert knowledge to operate. As such they exemplify a new approach to human-computer interaction where the computer is brought into our offices instead of squeezing an office uncomfortably into a computer screen.
Tuesday 10th December 1996, 14:30
Seminar Room 322
Department of Computer Science