The CAVE Collaborative Console

Kevin Curry, Kent Swartz, with support from John Kelso,
and Dr. Ronald Kriz-
Virginia Tech

The CAVE Collaborative Console extends CAVERNsoft and LIMBO by providing users with a graphical heads-up display of icons that enable the use of key tools needed for an efficient and effective collaborative session. The interface is that of a 3D console with buttons that toggle various collaborative and interactive tools. The application is intended to be somewhat generic and flexible and yet is implemented with many utilities that support awareness, presence, and collaborative manipulation. Though we stress the interdisciplinary appeal of the CAVE and CAVE collaboration, we believe that all users will require at least a base set of collaborative utilities and tools to work cooperatively with multiple participants in a virtual environment. By designing a flexible interface, we hope that end-user programming will allow the console to be customized to specific domains of use. The finished console will use both existing tools (i.e., Discovery Recording) and tools which we have created. Items that we are currently working on include the following:

Awareness Tools: MapView and WorldView Radar, Participants List
MapView Radar is a planar model and represents the environment from a floor plan perspective. Other collaborators are displayed as "blips" in the floor plan. WorldView Radar is a 3-dimensional model and represents the environment from a world perspective. Other collaborators are displayed as blips in a sphere, centered at the viewer's head. Participants List is a graphical text list showing everyone sharing the environment. Collaborators are displayed by name and distance away. For example, "Mary: 25.5" would indicate that Mary shares the environment and that she is 25.5 feet away.

Navigational Tools: Teleport
This feature allows users to teleport to specific locations. If the teleportation is to another user's location, permission must be given. This prevents someone from suddenly invading another user's space. If the movement is to a location in the world, no permission is required.

Primitive Drawing Tools
User's may choose from a pen and form simple shapes such as squares and cubes, circles and spheres. Drawings and notes may be shared or kept private.

We have implemented all of the awareness tools and a moderately functional pen. We have just started on the teleport and hope to get started on the other drawing tools soon.

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