January 1st, 2000 - January 1st, 2003
The goal of the Continuum Project is to develop integrated ubiquitous tools and environments and to study how these tools can be used to enhance collaboration amongst knowledge workers - such as scientists and engineers. EVL is designing the Collaborative Continuum [Continuum] environment, coupling tiled displays with video conferencing and shared digital annotation capabilities, to speed up collaborative work by providing greater awareness between distantly located collaborators. Understanding how people work in such an environment will help us design future collaboration software as well as prescribe protocols for their optimum use.
Up until now, tiled displays have been used mainly to display one giant picture. We believe that in the context of advanced collaborative work environments, this is the wrong model to offer as the only option. Using individual tiles of the display as windows to what collaborators are working on in parallel, allows for greater awareness and coordination between them. This level of awareness is impossible using conventional video conferencing technology, and is a great source of confusion in electronically mediated collaborations.
The Continuum centers around the concept of distributed, collaborative, “amplified work environments” where collaborators gather to solve problems assisted by advanced collaboration, computation and visualization technologies. Visualization and collaboration technologies include interactive stereoscopic computer graphics, multi-site audio / video conferencing, and high-resolution tiled graphics displays. Backing these technologies are clusters of PCs connected over extremely high-speed gigabit networks.
The Continuum is based on the AccessGrid for mediating multiparty video and audio conferencing. However it extends the AccessGrid concept by integrating a broad range of technologies to support intense collaboration.