The Visit: memory prosthetics.
Light weight tagging in the physical for future reference in the
Each year in June, Sixth Form students visit the university
to get a sense of what areas they might like to study if they
decide to go to university. Departments have demonstrations and
posters set up for students to get a flavour of each group. They
see many posters, talk with many students and professors. That's
a lot of information to manage.
For their visit to computer science, we gave students a way to
keep track of demonstrations that interested them without having
to remember them.
First, we placed an iButton dock in front of each poster and demonstration.
Second, we gave each student an iButton.
Each iButton has a unique id. We asked students to register their
iButtons, if they wished, with their name and email address to
associate their ibutton with them.
Then, as students went around the room, if they were interested
in learning more about a particular project being presented, they
could dock their iButton in the iButton dock. This would register
an event saying that the student had visited this particular poster.
Students could also see where other students were tagging posters.
To make how the system worked more transparent, we set up a display
show both a list of who was visiting what poster and a map to
show where that poster was. A radar blip would fire on the map
if someone docked at that location.
| from the "
Behind the Scenes" page of Visit03
Various software components were running on a number of computers
and servers, communicating via the elvin
content based messaging system. This allows software
clients to "subscribe" to receive particular types of message,
and to "publish" messages themselves.
Each time an iButton was docked or un-docked, a notification
was broadcast detailing the id and location of that iButton,
along with whether it was an arrival or departure.
A number of "process control" clients listen for the notifications
and fire off events when they are received. For example, one
client listens for arrivals and departures and logs these
by asserting them as RDF
into the triplestore
. Another client queries the triplestore to retrieve further
information about the person who has arrived or departed,
which is then re-broadcast as another notification and in
turn used by the applications.
Preview Day Website queries the triplestore to determine
which of the demonstrations you visited, and uses a link
server to generate a personalised page detailing further
information relating to those demonstrations.
when students wished, they could visit a web page we had set up for
them, enter their email address, and find a web page that showed them
the posters and demos they had tagged.
The web page for the visit provided information about the poster, and
links to related information. More importantly, in the context of their
visit in particular, each entry provided links to courses that the students
would take if they wanted to build what they had seen.
We also provided an
information page about how the Signage Visit demo itself worked.
Our hypothesis was that having course-based information available to
students in a context that they had already determined was of interest
to them would be more meaningful than if they were simply presented
with the course calendar (a rather dry document)
Each item tagged, therefore, becomes part of a collection, with associated
information about the item collected. That associated information, in
this case, is based on its context: a visit by students to check out
potential areas of study.
Approximately 80 students registered iButtons. During the event, over
7000 events were logged, and over the course of the following two weeks
over 30 students returned more than once to explore the web site. During
the event itself, many students commented on the use of ibuttons as
This was our first test of the system. We plan a more thorough evaluation
of the interaction and the use of the system over time. This study will
take place during the HCI03 conference in Bath, from Sept 10-12, 03.
Main Signage Page |