Debby Hindus

Specializing in Consumers, Homes and Technology



Audio Interactions
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Audio Interactions

Prior to my involvement with home networking and the related topic of consumers, homes and technology, I explored audio and computer interactions in a number of directions over the past decade, including:

Audio spaces 
Capturing phone calls in real-time
Using speech to control windows

In addition to those major research areas, I've also looked at various aspects of audio interactions, including audio interfaces to PDAs and  conversational paradigms for UIs.

Audio Spaces

At Interval Research, I helped create and study several audio space systems.  An audio space is an audio communication system for a group whose members are physically separated; the audio space creates a common acoustic space.  Audio spaces are a new kind of communication medium; their properties are still being uncovered. 

The following paper discusses the various user interfaces--graphical, social and tangible--that were invented for controlling Somewire, one audio space system.  It also addresses what we learned about using and designing audio spaces.

“Tangible Progress:  Less is More in Somewire Audio spaces,” Andrew Singer, Debby Hindus, Lisa Stifelman and Sean White. ACM CHI’99 conference proceedings, May 1999.  PDF format

In addition to the system and its interaction, we (in collaboration with Prof. Mark Ackerman) studied how audio spaces affected communication patterns between its users.  The following papers describe users' behaviors and social norms associated with the Thunderwire system, a simplified version of Somewire.

“Hanging on the 'Wire: A Field Study of an Audio-Only Media Space,” Mark Ackerman, Debby Hindus, Scott Mainwaring and Brian Starr, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 4(1), March 1997, 39-66.

“Thunderwire: A Field Study of an Audio-Only Media Space,” Debby Hindus, Mark Ackerman, Scott Mainwaring, and Brian Starr, ACM CSCW'96:conference proceedings, 238-247.  PDF format

This work also resulted in a patent for the user interactions and other system characteristics:

Methods and Systems for Creating a Spatial Auditory Environment in an Audio Conference System.  Singer, et al.  US patent 5889843, March 1999.

Capturing phone calls in real-time

My final Media Lab project, which became my master's thesis, looked at how computers could augment human-to-human communication (a topic also known as CMC, or computer-mediated communication).  

I built an underlying set of X Windows widgets and an application for structuring and displaying phone conversations, so that portions of the conversation could be marked and saved for later use.

"Capturing, Structuring and Representing Ubiquitous Audio," Debby Hindus, Chris Schmandt and Chris Horner, ACM TOIS, Transactions on Office Systems, October 1993.

“Semi-Structured Capture and Display of Telephone Conversations," Debby Hindus, MIT Masters Thesis, 1992. 

“Ubiquitous Audio: Capturing Spontaneous Collaboration,” Debby Hindus and Chris Schmandt. CSCW’92. PDF format

“Semi-Structured Display of Telephone Conversations,” Debby Hindus and Chris Schmandt. CHI’92.

Various aspects of audio interactions

At both the Media Lab and Interval, I was involved in a wide variety of audio-related interaction projects, including phone access to personal email, calendar, etc. (PhoneShell); web infrastructure for audio; tangible audio; and visual representations of audio.

Audio interfaces to PDAs

"Designing Auditory Interfaces for PDAs," Panel discussion, Debby Hindus, Lisa Stifelman, Barry Arons, Bill Gaver, Beth Mynatt and Maribeth Back, ACM UIST'95 conference proceedings, November 1995.

Conversational paradigms for UIs

I got very interested in how everyday conversation could inform the design of human-computer interactions, and put together what I'd learned into a tutorial for attendees of the 1991 and1992 CHI (Computers and Human Interaction) conference.

“Conversational Paradigms in User Interfaces,”  tutorial; CHI'91, CHI’92 with Susan Brennan.

Using speech to control windows

My first project at MIT was a collaboration with Chris Schmandt and Mark Ackerman to study the effects of speaking window navigation commands to the X Window System, as described in the following papers:

"Augmenting a Window System with Speech Input,” Chris Schmandt, Mark S. Ackerman and Debby Hindus. IEEE Computer, August 1990.

“Observations on Using Speech Input for Window Navigation,” Chris Schmandt, Debby Hindus, Mark S. Ackerman and Sanjay Manandhar. In Proceedings of INTERACT’90, August 1990.

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