Blog Archive: 2009

Designing User Friendly Augmented Work Environments


We’re happy to note that the book “Designing User Friendly Augmented Work Environments” (edited by Saadi Lahlou) has been published by Springer, in hardcover with an online version available. We have a chapter in it on our USE smart conference room system: “Designing an Easy-to-Use Executive Conference Room Control System.” The chapter starts with some of the field work we did to understand the work flows of the stakeholders, and then describes the evolution of the system we built to support the executive, his assistant, and others who used the meeting room. The system developed during this project was the precursor to the DICE system.

The process of writing and publishing this chapter took a considerable amount of time, and thus it is interesting to look back on some of our early designs to see how they have evolved. One aspect that changed was the name of project: we started out calling the system USE (Usable Smart Environment) and that terminology is used in the book chapter. By the time we completed this project and moved onto the larger conference room, we changed the name to DICE (Distributed Intelligent Conferencing Environment). DICE now runs in both rooms, and USE is the name of Gene’s group, just to add to the confusion.

For more information on this work, check out the video, some before/after pictures, and the CHI 2009 paper. We’re also working on a journal article that extends the CHI findings. Look for it in a few years!

DICE video


In an earlier post, I described briefly the DICE system and the paper we are publishing on it. At the time I wrote it, I had forgotten that we had a short YouTube video of an early version of the system.

The video demonstrates how to use DICE to schedule and run meetings.

See the FXPAL YouTube page for more videos of FXPAL research.

DICE @ CHI 2009

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Our paper on conference room automation got accepted to CHI 2009. We describe the DICE system and report on about a year’s worth of use during its deployment at FXPAL. The system uses a task-based user interface to manage meetings in technologically-enhanced conference rooms. Unlike AMX or Crestron systems, it integrates with the file system and supports multiple speakers. Each speaker can specify how the room should be configured independently, and the system manages the transitions between speakers.

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