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The Continuum Research in Amplified Collaboration Environments of the Future Jason Leigh, Andrew Johnson, Thomas A. DeFanti, Jonas Talandis Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) University of Illinois at Chicago. Along time ago in a laboratory not far away…. Established in 1973

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The Continuum

Research in Amplified Collaboration Environments

of the Future

Jason Leigh, Andrew Johnson, Thomas A. DeFanti,

Jonas Talandis

Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL)

University of Illinois at Chicago

Along time ago in a laboratory not far away
Along time ago in a laboratory not far away…

  • Established in 1973

  • Co-directors: Tom DeFanti, Dan Sandin

  • 10 full time staff

  • 40 students, 30 funded students, 50% Art and CS

  • Main areas of research: advanced display systems, visualization, high speed networking, and collaboration.

  • Funded mainly by NSF and DoE

  • Additional funding by Microsoft, Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT), General Motors

Motivation for amplified collaboration environments
Motivation for Amplified Collaboration Environments

  • Olson & Olson – Michigan

  • Study of 9 project rooms – software design, appliance design, organization design, sales response team

  • Comparison of war groups with norm showed performance of war group well above corporate average (doubling for software design case)

  • How do we amplify these benefits and support distributed teams using modern collaboration technology?

Requirements of modern day collaboration environments
Requirements of Modern DayCollaboration Environments

  • Our work focuses mainly on supporting Scientific collaborations because they are not easily supported with gear you buy from BestBuy.

  • Aspects of group collaboration that need to be supported:

    • Persistence of Information

    • Spatiality and Deictic Referencing

    • Group Awareness

    • Immediacy of Access to Knowledgeable Experts

  • Technology requirements:

    • Good quality, panoramic audio/video conferencing.

    • Persistent, high resolution, information displays.

    • Ability to rapidly distribute displayed information to collaborating sites.

    • Support for brainstorming.

    • Seamless integration of content from remote computer systems like supercomputers to laptops and PDAs.

    • High speed networking to support all of the above.

The continuum

The Continuum

Goal is to research and develop a collaborative project-room / warroom, interconnected by high speed networks, and enhanced by high end visualization and computation to allow researchers to fluidly work with each other and with complex data.

Amplified collaboration environments
Amplified Collaboration Environments

Collaborativepassive stereo


Collaborative Tiled Display

AccessGrid multisitevideo conferencing


touch screenwhiteboard


laptops &

Tablet PCs to steer the displays


happy nodeoperator


desktop ambient mics

Video Conferencing: The AccessGrid

Collaborative annotation
Collaborative Annotation

Touch Plasma Screen


AccessGrid Augmented Virtual Environment

Originally designed & developed by EVL in 2001

Now widespread adoption by GeoWall Consortium for

Research & education in the Geosciences


70 walls since jan 2001
70 Walls since Jan 2001

June ‘02

Sept. ‘02





The geowall consortium
The GeoWall Consortium

  • Provides open source software and data sets for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, to Geoscience researchers and educators.

  • Integration into Univ. Michigan, Minnesota and Arizona State curriculum- ~3000 students per year

  • Deployment at SciTech Museum in Aurora, Illinois; and Museum of Science and Industry.

The perspectile
The PerspecTile

  • Extreme resolution LCD tiled display (6000x3000).

  • Driven by 16 PCs.

  • View high resolution montages from Scripps, USGS, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research

  • Example:

  • In a Homeland Security / Emergency Response Application, USGS has aerial photos of 133 urban areas:

    • 5643 tiles each 5000x5000 pixel resolution ~ 375,600x375,600 pixels for each urban area (394GB per area.)

    • Total data ~ 51 TB

Bathymetry data of the whole world (Scripps)

Teravision high resolution graphics distribution
TeraVision : High ResolutionGraphics Distribution

VGA / DVI capture



  • Like a Powerpoint projector with aGigabit NIC built into it.

  • Capture raw image @ 1024x768 30fps

  • Next generation version will let us capture twice the resolution.

  • All TRECC Continuum tiled displays have GigE NICs.

Wireless interaction
Wireless Interaction

  • Collaborative steering of Continuum screens as if one continuous screen.

  • Allow users to push displays from their wireless devices onto the Continuum screens.

  • Walk in a room & start sharing information.

  • Or stream video to a remote handheld device.

Networks that support collaboration star tap science technology and research transit access point
Networks that support collaboration: STAR TAPScience, Technology And Research Transit Access Point

Internet 2


Next Generation Internet

vBNS OC-12 622Mbps

(very high-performance BackboneNetwork Service)

NISN OC-3 155Mbps

NASA Research and Education Network

Esnet OC-3

(US DOE Energy Sciences Nework)


(Nasa Research & Education Network)


(Department of Defence Research & Education Network)

US Connections

Star tap international connections connected interested

APAN (Australia, China, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand) 100


NORDUnet (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) 45 – 155Mbps


Canada (CANet) 155


France (Renater2)


Israel (IUCC)

Netherlands (SURFnet) 155

Russia (mirNET) 6

Singapore (SingAREN) 12

South Africa

Switzerland (CERN) 45

Taiwan (TANet2) 15


United Kingdom

Special: NTT GEMnet 5Mbps

STAR TAP International Connections Connected,Interested

2.5G Philippines, Thailand) 100

For more information
For More Information Philippines, Thailand) 100






Acknowledgments Philippines, Thailand) 100

  • National Science Foundation

  • NSF Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI)

  • Office of Naval Research through the Technology Research Education and Commercialization Center (TRECC)

  • Microsoft Research

  • General Motors Research

  • Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Optical Network Systems Laboratory