Project "Who's there?"

Website of Prof. Dr. Barne Kleinen, Professor for Media Informatics (Bachelor/Master) at HTW Berlin

Praxisprojekt im Bachelor

B5. Who’s there? How are y’all? - Light-Weight Telepresence with HTML5

Barne Kleinen

The question of how to provide an awareness of coworkers, colleagues, fellow students and friends in a spatially remote working team has been the subject of research for over 25 years. Namely, there has been a wide array of elaborate setups to provide a sense or even awareness of the remote ones: videoconferencing rooms extending visually to the remote site, telepresence robots or even remote sports and games. Yet, the reality of telepresence in most tools we use now in our everyday practice of remote work and distance learning is a list of names. Maybe enhanced with a still photo, an icon whether or not their camera or microphone is on, but still a list of names. There are quite some questions that may arise: How large is my audience? What’s their mood? How many more are listening to this … not so interesting lecture? I wonder how I could find out with whom I want to talk to in this class. Distance Learning is all right, but I miss hanging out with the others. How on earth should I find people to team up with? In this project I present you with 2 challenges:

  1. To find out what is possible with the least technical means. It would be great to have something that everyone can initiate, without access to or technical knowledge how to set up a server, and use from their desktop. And maybe even mobile phone. But mostly desktop or laptop. And of course without equipping a whole room with cameras and screens. I am thinking peer to peer and plain HTML5 with only a small set of Javascript Frameworks.
  2. Come up or collect Ideas for Activities and Telepresence Tools that can be implemented on this simple technological base. Speeddating for all attendees? Auditory murmur to leave the presenter feel less lonely? A game perhaps that can be played together in the distance classroom?
  3. and there is a third thing, that should be less of a challenge: implement at least one of the ideas and test it in our distance learning practice.