Research agencies unveil collaboration progress at ICT Outlook Forum
ICT Outlook Forum being held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground today will feature the first public demonstration of research progress from a joint project involving National ICT Australia (NICTA), the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and CSIRO.
Last year, these organisations agreed to collaborate in HxI research – where the x denotes research from various disciplines that collectively enhance Human Interactivity with machines.
Research Director for the initiative, DSTO’s Dr Rudi Vernik says HxI aims to augment the ability of humans to interact with information, with each other, and with their environments through the effective application of Information and Communication Technologies.
Braccetto* is the first project of the HxI Initiative and will form the foundation of future research efforts. Braccetto is investigating how the effective application of ICT in mixed presence groupware can help geographically distributed teams collaborate more effectively.
This team has been working with a Perth-based company, Jumbo Vision, to develop collaborative workspaces. This has led to the design and creation of a modular collaboration system that uses high-definition liquid crystal display (LCD) screens to improve interaction.
The screens can be arranged in various combinations and orientations to provide a flexible and adaptive system that supports creative teamwork.
The prototypes of these collaborative workspaces are now operational across three sites in Adelaide and Sydney and form part of Braccetto TeamNets, a suite of hardware, software and knowledge systems that can be deployed into a range of distributed collaboration systems.
“Braccetto* is the first project of the HxI Initiative and will form the foundation of future research efforts. Braccetto is investigating how the effective application of ICT in mixed presence groupware can help geographically distributed teams collaborate more effectively.”
The Braccetto TeamNets architecture can be tailored to teams’ requirements using computer-controlled motors to orient and re-position the screens and through the addition of interactive devices such as lighting and cameras. The whole system can be packed into cases for rapid transportation to other locations.
The Braccetto project is also researching the principles underlying effective, intense, remote collaboration. The results of this investigation may provide new ways of supporting distributed teams involved in creative activities such as collaborative design, planning, analysis and decision making.
Dr Vernik says that groups that regularly engage in these kinds of collaborative and creative activities will benefit from the research and include military planners, scientific researchers and creative design teams.
“The research focuses on assisting organisations to effectively deal with emerging phenomena such as global networks, workforce virtualisation and data overload by giving information workers new tools and processes to perform better in these new environments,” says Dr Vernik.
* Braccetto is an Italian word meaning “arm in arm” and describes both the nature of the research being undertaken and the cooperative framework in which it is occurring.
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