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ReticularSpaces: activity-based computing support for physically distributed and collaborative smart spaces

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Abstract

Smart spaces research focuses on technology for multiple displays and devices for collocated participants. In most approaches, however, users have to cope with heterogeneous interfaces and information organization, as well as a lack of support for collaboration with mobile and remote users outside the smart space. In this paper, we present ReticularSpaces; a multi-display smart space system built on the principles of activity-based computing. The focus of ReticularSpaces is to support: (i) unified interaction with applications and documents through ReticularUI, a novel distributed user interfaces design; (ii) management of the complexity of tasks between users and displays; (iii) mobile users in a local, remote or 'nomadic' settings; and (iv) collaboration among local and remote users. We describe the motivation, design, and architecture of ReticularSpaces, and report from a preliminary feasibility study. The study shows that participants found ReticularSpaces useful and effective, but at the same time reveals new areas for research on smart environments.