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Reactive House

The Reactive House is a two-room interactive exhibit designed and built for the Ontario Science Center's Millennium Exhibit. The exhibit consists of a dining room and living room scenario. Each room reacts to user activity, utilizing information from video cameras, voice recognition, and various low-level sensors.

In the dining room, a ceiling-mounted camera detects the arrival of visitors near the table. A computer-synthesized voice then instructs the visitors to be seated in order to begin the meal selection process. From there, a video is displayed, presenting the fridge contents, and a number of meal choices are offered. Each visitor is asked to make a meal selection using a panel of buttons. Each selection serves as a vote for a particular meal, and the room then decides on an overall top choice. Pre-dinner music is played while a light in the oven is turned on, indicating that the meal is being prepared.

In the living room, a microswitch mounted in an office chair indicates that someone is sitting down, while a rotary encoder provides the angle to which the chair is facing. This information is used to activate either a television or stereo, depending on which device is being faced. The occupant of the chair is prompted to utter appropriate keywords in order to change TV channels (e.g. ``sports'' or ``drama'') or make musical selections (e.g., ``soft rock,'' or ``jazz''). Voice recognition is used to interpret the corresponding selection, and an associated video or audio clip is then played back.

The exhibit features a playful sense of humour, warning visitors who straggle at the dining table after the meal has ended, ``if you don't leave soon, you'll have to stay and help clean the dishes.'' Another example of this interaction is in response to the stereo volume being raised too high. A distant voice can be heard to shout, ``Hey kids! Keep it down!'' followed by the room informing visitors that someone has complained, so the music volume will now be lowered.

S. Lau, M. Leong, W. Tsai, P. Tjhin, S. Doutriaux, J. Cooperstock


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Annual Report

Mon Jun 26 21:22:20 GMT 2000