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