News

Augmented floor display triggers interaction between people

An interactive social layer of information can enhance the feeling of togetherness in any public space.

An Aalto University experimental study demonstrated how an augmented space with reactive floor-projection in a public building can affect people’s awareness of others’ presence and activities. As a conclusion, the augmented floor visualization “Traces” enhances curiosity and engages a connection with the environment and the people in it.

The study used Traces, a visualization technology consisting of Microsoft Kinect cameras and digital projectors representing real-time mobility patterns that fade over time. The six-week study took place at the Aalto University Design Factory that inhabits university workers and visitors of diverse seminars and workshops.

‘Traces visualization is able reflect everyday activities and interaction between people. Although it enhances social curiosity and awareness, it can also stay in the background of the attention and not disturb ongoing activities’, says Doctoral Candidate Beatrice Monastero.

In addition to video observation, the study also included interviews with visitors and periodic discussions with a group of recurrent users. There were altogether 1200 interactions recorded during the study. The participants were not identified in the study, and one participant could be responsible for several interactions.

‘There might be privacy concerns involved if the level of identification would be too high. It could then turn out to be in a sense like spying the people, following their tracks’, adds Monastero.

Despite this, some of the participants were able to assume, based on the Traces visualization, if their colleague has arrived in the building early in the morning as he or she usually does. Traces also visualized how the visitors entered the diverse workshops. In this way, Traces serves as kind of an embedded newspaper on the floor, informing on the activities of the people in the building.

‘In a huge building, you do not see always the other people around and therefore you may lose the feeling of social connection and belonging’, tells Monastero.

The study demonstrated Traces’ potential for social triangulation across all engagement types and between actors and spectators. Most participants considered Traces helpful to enhance their social awareness. Some of them merely considered its aesthetic decorative qualities welcoming in the space. When users discovered interaction, they actively engaged to understand how the visualization technology worked. This gave participants an opportunity to socialize, a “ticket to talk”.

‘In the study, the visual representation was related to diverse social gatherings in the building. In the same way, interactive displays could support social interactions in any public surroundings. Yet there is a need to deepen the research on how to design embedded technological solutions to enhance opportunistic social awareness and interaction in diverse surroundings’, concludes Monastero.

Further information:

Beatrice Monastero
Doctoral Candidate
Aalto University
[email protected]

Image: Beatrice Monastero

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Related news

Janne Lindqvist
Research & Art Published:

Janne Lindqvist: You can’t help if you stay in the ivory tower

This sociable professor of computer science knows how to forge his own path and trusts his instinctive curiosity towards different research topics.
maankäyttö
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

Feeding the world without wrecking the planet is possible

Almost half of current food production is harmful to our planet – causing biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and water stress. But as world population continues to grow, can that last?
Large arena filled with a crowd watching a game of DOTA2 projected on big screens
Research & Art Published:

Digital athletics in analogue stadiums

Researchers study why people watch computer gamers live
Julia Lohmann's Department of Seaweed at WEF. Photo: Mikko Raskinen
Research & Art Published:

Julia Lohmann: ‘We know too much and do too little’

Lohmann’s magnificent seaweed pavilion encourages leaders to make difficult decisions and establish a ‘do-tank’ way of collaborating at the 50th World Economic Forum in Davos.