Blog Archive: 2010

Moving target

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The capture of whiteboard images, while required for systems such as ReBoard, is not particularly interesting these days from a research perspective. What’s more interesting (and what’s interesting to us about ReBoard) is how this captured information can be used.

We’ve been using video cameras as network-accessible Axis digital still cameras for ReBoard, and they produce reasonable, but by no means great, images. They work pretty well in our offices, where they can be mounted on the opposite wall, and calibrated to image the whiteboard. We run the captured images through a process that corrects the distortion and extracts the whiteboard region, and then shove the images (both the original and the distorted one)  into a database. Works great.

But what happens when the whiteboard moves?

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ReBoard presentation at CHI 2010

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Stacy Branham who was an intern with us last summer gave an excellent talk at CHI 2010 about the study that she ran of how people use ReBoard. I’ve written about the study before, and the papers are available here and here. But the slides are interesting in their own right, and tell a complementary story.

First, there are the CHI Madness slides:

Let the slides auto-advance for the best effect.

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Linking Digital Media to Physical Documents: Comparing Content- and Marker-Based Tags


There are generally two types of tags for linking digital content and paper documents. Marker-based tags and RFIDs employ a modification of the printed document. Content-based solutions remove the physical tag entirely and link using features of the existing printed matter. Chunyuan, Laurent, Gene, Qiong, and I recently published a paper in IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine that explores the two tag types’ use and design trade-offs by comparing our experiences developing and evaluating two systems  that use marker-based tagging — DynamInk and PapierCraft — with two systems that utilize content-based tagging — Pacer and ReBoard. In the paper, we situate these four systems in the design space of interactive paper systems and discuss lessons we learned from creating and deploying each technology.

Take a look!

Reintroducing ReBoard

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ReBoard is a system we built at the lab to automatically capture whiteboard images and make them accessible and sharable through the web. A technical description of the system is available here. At CHI 2010, Stacy Branham will present an evaluation of ReBoad that she conducted over the summer as an intern at FXPAL1.

Until then, check out our dorky demonstration video!

And be sure to watch the other videos of the latest and greatest FXPAL technologies.

1. The paper is
“Let’s go from the whiteboard: Supporting transitions in work through whiteboard capture and reuse” by Stacy Branham, Gene Golovchinksy, Scott Carter, and Jacob Biehl

Browsing your whiteboard

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ReBoard architecture (from a ReBoard image)

Over the last year or so, Scott Carter, Jacob Biehl, and I have built and deployed an interesting system for managing whiteboard content. The system, ReBoard, consists of a camera that takes pictures of a traditional (or electronic, if you wanted) whiteboard when whiteboard content changes. The images captured by the camera are cleaned up by adjusting contrast and correcting for skew, and then saved into a database along with a bunch of metadata that identifies the changed region, the time and place the image was taken, and whether the content was likely created as a collaboration. Once captured, images can be shared with others and can be annotated by adding tags and notes.

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Test-driven research


This has been a busy summer for the ReBoard project: Scott Carter, Jake Biehl and I spent a bunch of time building and debugging our code, and  Wunder-intern Stacy ran a great study for us, looking at how people use their office whiteboards before and after we deployed our system. We’ll be blogging more about some of the interesting details in the coming months, but I wanted to touch on a topic that occurred to me as we’re working on the CHI 2010 submission.

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Openness is a virtue


This is a bit of a rant. Bear with me.

We are working on a whiteboard capture and retrieval project (more blogging on this later). The goal is to capture whiteboard images in some unobtrusive manner and then store and index them for future retrieval and browsing. We currently capture with a video camera, but thought it would be good to be agnostic with respect to the source of capture.

mimio makes a whiteboard ink capture tool that uses an IR receiver to track positions of pens on the whiteboard. You still use the same dry-erase markers, but house them in an IR-transmitting enclosure. We thought that would be perfect to tell us when and where inking was taking place.

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