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Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and Physical Prototypes for Architectural Academic Education and Research

  • Technical University Delft
Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and
Physical Prototypes for Architectural
Academic Education and Research
Henriette H. Bier
Delft University of Technology,
Faculty of Architecture,
The Netherlands
1. Introduction
Even though development of concepts and tools for Internet-based academic research and
education may be traced back to the 1960s, only in the last decade concepts such as
Internet of Things, Ambient Intelligence (AmI), and ubiquitous computing (ubicomp)
have introduced not only a technological but also a conceptual and methodological
paradigm shift that implies a general infiltration of Internet-based concepts and tools not
only into academic education and research but also into everyday life activities. In this
context, Hyperbody at Delft University of Technology (DUT) has been developing in the
last decade hardware- and software- prototypes for Internet-supported academic
education and research, which were tested in practical experiments implemented mainly
in international workshops and lectures. This chapter presents and discusses Hyperbody’s
past, present and future development and use of software and hardware applications for
virtual academic education and research in architectural and urban design within the
larger framework of contemporary conceptual, methodological and technological
2. Concepts and tools
The development of concepts and tools for Internet-based academic research and education
such as Engelbart’s proposal for using computers in the augmentation of human skills
(1962) and Sutherland’s Sketchpad as first graphical user interface for computers (1963), the
establishment of the Internet (1969) and the development of interactive learning
environments enabled universities to offer accredited graduate programs through online
courses. While at the time, virtual and physical interaction was separated in corresponding
educational programs, in the last decade, concepts such as Internet of Things, Ambient
Intelligence (AmI), and ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) have introduced a conceptual and
methodological paradigm shift manifested in the blur of boundaries between physical and
virtual and the continuous integration of Internet-based concepts and tools into the
academic everyday life. In this context, ubiquitous computing refers to the integration of
information processing into everyday objects and activities (Weiser, 1988) while the Internet
International Perspectives of Distance Learning in Higher Education
of Things consists of uniquely identifiable (tagged) objects (Things) and their virtual
representations inventoried and connected in an Internet-like structure (Ashton, 1999;
Magrassi, et al. 2001).
Fig. 1. Protospace: An Internet-based multi-user physical and virtual environment for
academic research and education developed by Hyperbody.
Envisioning Ambient Intelligence (AmI) as a physical environment that incorporates
digital devices in order to support people in carrying out daily activities by using
information and intelligence that is contained within the network connecting these
devices (Zelkha et al., 1998), Protospace (
developed at Hyperbody (Fig. 1) can be seen as an embedded, networked hardware- and
software system that is exhibiting characteristics of Ambient Intelligence. This implies
that interactive, context aware (sensor-actuator) sub-systems are embedded into the
spatial environment in such a way that they are context and user aware by collecting and
mapping data with respect to users’ movement and behaviour in relation to physical
space, they are, when needed, tailored to individual needs, and furthermore, they are
adaptive, responding to user and environmental changes, even anticipatory, as for
instance, during interactive lectures and workshops described in following sections.
Considering that information processing has been, meanwhile, increasingly integrated
into physical spaces, everyday objects, human activities (Weiser, 1988) and ubiquitous
computing (ubicomp) has become prevalent in everyday life, the following sections aim to
critically asses what they offer architectural academic education and research, and thus
reveal what challenges remain in their development and application.
3. Methodologies and processes
Late 1990s, Internet-based academic education and research were focusing on education
methodologies and applied technologies for educators, students and researchers, who are
separated by time and distance, or both (Daniel, 1998; Loutchko et al. 2002). In this context,
the requirement for synchronous interaction for participants, who are virtually present at
the same time while they are physically remotely located would be implemented via timely
synchronous videoconferencing and live streaming, telephone, and web-based VoIP. In
addition, participants would access educational and research materials on their own
schedule, as well as communicate by means of asynchronous information exchange such as
E-mail correspondence, message exchange (forums), audio-video recording and replay.
Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and Physical
Prototypes for Architectural Academic Education and Research
Other more sophisticated methods would include online three-dimensional (3D) virtual
worlds providing synchronous and asynchronous interaction as well as collaboration.
Such systems would, obviously, require high-tech hardware and software equipment and
would offer the possibility to flexibly accommodate time and space constraints of users,
while reducing the demand on institutional infrastructure such as buildings. Educators,
students and researchers attending virtual sessions would exchange and acquire knowledge
asynchronously by reading documents from the database or studying videos, for instance,
and synchronously by discussing problems, reviewing case studies, or actively participating
in workshops. Communication in the synchronous virtual study room is, therefore,
conceived as a collaborative study and research experience, where participants are
interacting real-time with peers through web-conferencing and 3D gaming.
3D gaming environments inspired, in the last decade, researchers from different disciplines
to develop computer-supported collaborative environments such as Protospace in which
problem-based studying and researching is implemented. This enables physically and
virtually present students and researchers to investigate and solve problems by working in
groups, wherein participants identify what they know, what they need to know, and learn
how to bridge the gap between the two by searching and accessing information from
worldwide available databases that may lead to finding solutions.
In such a context, the role of the instructor, educator, or team leader is that of facilitating the
process by suggesting appropriate references, and instigating critical discussions, while
open-ended, ill-defined problems, addressed in collaborative group work are driving such a
process (Armstrong, 1991). By exploring various strategies in order to understand the nature
of the to-be-solved problem, by investigating the constraints and options to its resolution, as
well as by acknowledging eventual different viewpoints, participants learn to negotiate
between competing, even contradicting resolutions. These approaches implemented in
Internet-supported multi-user, collaborative, game-like environments such as Protospace
are well suited for addressing architectural and urban planning problems in education and
Such approaches are, however, not anymore confined to the classical concepts of the
Internet-based education such as distance learning; instead they started to permeate the
academic everyday life (Bier, 2011). Internet-based interaction is not anymore employed for
distance learning only but it is integrated in the daily interaction, information and
knowledge exchange between students, educators and researchers. While learning
environments are increasingly accessed in various contexts and situations, ubiquitous
increasingly replaces distance learning (Bomsdorf, 2005).
If ubiquitous learning (u-Learning) represents a relevant advancement in the development
of distance learning, its obvious potential results from the enhanced possibilities of
accessing content and computer-supported collaborative environments at any time and
place. Furthermore, u-Learning enables seamless combination of virtual environments and
physical spaces and allows embedding individual learning activities in everyday life so that
learning activities are freed from schedule and spatial constraints, becoming pervasive and
ongoing, prevalent within a large, diverse community consisting of students, educators,
social communities, researchers, etc.
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4. Applications in education and research
Within the larger context described in the sections before, Hyperbody has been developing
in the last decade Internet-supported applications for academic education and research by
employing interactive 3D game technology: As an Internet-based, multi-user game
environment, Protospace enables real-time collaborative architectural and urban design and
has been tested in graduate education and research including the Internet-based
postgraduate program, E-Archidoct, that was offered in collaboration with 14 European
universities 2008-10.
Fig. 2. Rapid seamless CAD-CAM prototyping and CNC fabrication implemented with
students in Protospace.
Protospace is, basically, a compound of software and hardware applications for virtual
academic education and research equipped with multi-channel immersive audio, multi-
screen projection, ubiquitous sensing, wireless input-output devices and (Computer
Numerically Controlled) CNC facilities (incorporating a laser cutter and a large mill). It
facilitates Internet-supported collaborative design and development of interactive
architectural components, supports seamless (Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing)
CAD-CAM workflows, as well as enables implementation of non-standard, complex
geometries (Fig. 2) into architecture.
Protospace incorporates, therefore, virtual drafting and modeling as well as physical
prototyping tools with shared database capabilities so that changes made by design team
members are visible to all other team members, thus allowing for design, evaluation, and
dialogue between team members to take place concurrently in real-time. Team members are
physically and/or virtually participating in a seamless process of design, prototyping, and
review establishing a feedback loop between conceptualization and production.
4.1 Software and hardware prototypes
In addition to CNC machines allowing for CAD-CAM production of 1:1 or scaled
architectural prototypes, Protospace incorporates Virtual Reality (VR) hardware and
software (Fig. 3) devices enabling implementation of specific tasks such as geometrical and
behavioral manipulation.
Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and Physical
Prototypes for Architectural Academic Education and Research
Fig. 3. Protospace: Wireless devices with varying characteristics are available as input
devices for implementing specific tasks such as geometrical and behavioral manipulation.
4.1.1 CAD-CAM processes
Internet-supported collaborative processes such as CAD-CAM design and fabrication
workflows are implemented in Protospace by means of commercial and non-commercial
software applications that in part are developed from scratch at Hyperbody. For
architectural and urban design Hyperbody employs parametric software such as Virtools,
Max MSP, Rhino-Grasshopper and Generative Components. These CAD applications are
coupled with CAM facilities in order to allow seamless production of physical prototypes
from virtual models.
With respect to their use in education, in case of E-Archidoct, for instance, in addition to the
Internet-based individual and collaborative exchange between students and teachers
facilitated by the open-source Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment
(Moodle) which was incorporated into the E-Archidoct website, Protospace software
applications were as well integrated.
Students were, basically, introduced to parametric software such as Virtools, Grasshopper
and Generative Components employed in architectural and urban design projects. Liu’s
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project (Fig. 4), for instance, applies parametric definition for the development of multiple
designs. Parametric manipulation implied, among others, the use of the marching cubes
algorithm, which constructs surfaces from numerical values; furthermore, programmatic
considerations were parametrically defined with respect to function in relation to volume
and orientation in 3D space, etc. CAD structural analysis employing MIDAS/Gen implied
that data with respect to forces, moments and stresses was used in order to determine the
placement and dimension of main and secondary structure, whereas final design was
physically prototyped by means of CAM.
Fig. 4. Liu’s project showing multiple design and evaluation phases employing design and
structural engineering software.
In addition to CAD-CAM processes in which designers (tutors, students and researchers)
may partake physically or virtually, Protospace facilitates interactive presentations that
allow physically and virtually present audience to attend and interact with the presenters
and their presentations in real-time.
4.1.2 Interactive lectures
Non-linear screen presentations are set-up on multiple screens and non-linear talks follow a
paradigm in which the audience is enabled to select from predefined content clusters
specific topics, images, and/or movies, which the speaker then presents and discusses.
Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and Physical
Prototypes for Architectural Academic Education and Research
Following principles of Ambient Intelligence some of the multiple screen projections may be
influenced by the audience: The physically present audience can alter the course of the
presentation by using laser pointers, or triggering light- and/or pressure-sensors integrated
in floor and walls, while audience from all over the world follows and interacts with the
presentation via Internet-based interfaces (Fig. 5). In this context, distinct clusters of content
are marked with keywords, indicating when audience input is expected or required, while
physically and virtually present lecturers introduce and discuss content by means of
multimedia and videoconference presentations.
Fig. 5. Interactive presentations with Marcos Novak from University of California in
Protospace at TU Delft (iWEB, 2006-07).
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4.1.3 Multi-user (3D) games
As one of the most relevant Protospace applications, Virtools allows development of
Internet-supported, multi-user (3D) games. Known as serious games (Zyda, 2005) such games
have a primary purpose other than entertainment as they are designed for the purpose of
solving an architectural or urban design problem. They are accessible via a game interface
on the Internet by multiple users that can interact with the virtual environment in real-time.
Their development in Virtools is based on the separation of objects, data and behaviors,
employing an intuitive user interface with real-time visualization window and graphical
programming. This allows programming with spatial arrangements of text and graphic
symbols, whereas screen objects are treated as entities that can be connected with lines,
which represent relations (Fig. 6).
Fig. 6. Hsiao’s Virtools script showing graphical programming interface and behaviour set-
up for urban design simulations.
Virtools’ behavior engine runs both custom and out-of-the-box behaviors, whereas
behaviors relevant for architectural and urban design at Hyperbody are swarm behaviors
relying on principles of self-organization (Reynolds 1987; Oosterhuis et. al. 2004). Swarm
behaviors are collective behaviors exhibited by natural or artificial agents, which
aggregate together, exhibiting motion patterns at group level (Mach & Schweitzer, 2003).
These behaviors are emergent, arising from simple rules that are followed by individuals
Protospace applications such as Virtual Operation Room (VOR), Building Relations (BR)
employ swarm behaviors in order to address issues such as interactivity in architecture (Bier
et al. 2006) and automated placement of programmatic units in 3D space either at city or at
building scale (Bier, 2007).
Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and Physical
Prototypes for Architectural Academic Education and Research
VOR is, basically, an interactive environment allowing participants to playfully start to
understand interactivity principles, which are then applied in design using Protospace’s
design interface. In order to incorporate behaviors and interactively change geometry in
real-time, VOR employs self-organization principles of swarms enabling elements of the
structure to respond to external changes. According to Oosterhuis (2006) swarm
architecture implies that all building components operate like intelligent agents, whereas
the swarm is, in this context, of special interest: Self-organizing swarms go back to
Reynolds’ computer program developed in 1986, which simulates flocking behavior of
birds. The rules according to which the birds are moving are simple: Maintain a minimum
distance to vicinity (1), match velocity with neighbors (2) and move towards the center of
the swarm (3). These rules are local establishing the behavior of one member in relationship
to its next vicinity.
Similar to Reynolds’ flocking rules, VOR’s icosahedral geometry employs rules regarding
the movement of its vertices. The movements of its vertices are controlled as follows: (1)
Keep a certain distance to neighboring vertices; move faster if you are further away. (2) Try
to be at a certain distance from your neighbors’ neighbors; move faster if you are further
away. These rules aim to establish a desired state of equilibrium implying that VOR aims to
organize itself into the primary icosahedral structure. Under exterior influences VOR
executes geometrical-spatial transformations according to the rule (3): Try to maintain a
certain distance to the avatar, whereas the avatar is an embodiment of the user in this multi-
user virtual reality (Fig. 7).
Fig. 7. VOR can be navigated via an avatar that can enter a virtual world represented as an
icosahedral structure.
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VOR, as a multi-user interactive environment, is a computer simulation of an imaginary
system, a game that enables users to perform operations on the simulated system
(Oosterhuis et al. 2004) while showing effects in real-time. Basically, VOR consists of
responsive environments with which the user interacts via input devices such as mouse,
keyboard, and/or joystick; these allow for intuitive maneuver and navigation.
At building scale, applications developed by Hyperbody have been focusing on the
development of interactive design tools, which allow simulation of complex design
processes such as space allocation: BuildingRelations (BR), for instance, proposed an
alternative design method based on swarm behavior.
BR consists of agents interacting locally with one another and with their environment as
follows: In the absence of top-down control dictating how individual agents should behave,
local interactions between agents lead to the bottom-up emergence of global behavior.
Similarly, all functional units pertaining to a building can be seen as flocking agents striving to
achieve an optimal spatial layout (Bier et al. 1998; Bier et al. 2006). In this context, spatial
relations between functional units can be described as rules, according to which all units
organize themselves into targeted spatial configurations (Fig. 8). This approach is particularly
suitable for the functional layout of middle large structures: While the architect might find it
difficult to have an overview on all functions and their attributed volume and preferential
location, functional units can easily swarm towards local optimal configurations.
Fig. 8. BR - Architectural design studies implemented in interactive environments
developed in Virtools.
Basically, programmatic distribution of functions in architectural design deals with the
placement of functions in 3D-space; in this context, building components such as rooms
have neither fixed dimensions nor pre-defined positions in space. Attempts to automate the
process of layout incorporate approaches to spatial allocation by defining the available
space as an orthogonal 2D-grid and use an algorithm to allocate each rectangle of the grid to
a particular function. Other strategies break down the problem into parts such as topology
and geometry: While topology refers to logical relationships between layout components,
geometry refers to position and size of each component of the layout. A topological decision,
for instance, that a functional unit is adjacent to another specific functional unit restricts the
geometric coordinates of a functional unit relative to another (Michalek et al., 2002; Bier et
al. 2007).
Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and Physical
Prototypes for Architectural Academic Education and Research
Based on a similar strategy BR generates solutions for complex layout problems in an
interactive design process. Furthermore, it operates in the 3D-space and therefore, it
represents an innovative approach to semi-automated design processes. The BR database
establishes connectivities between different software and functions as a parameter pool
containing geometric and functional data. BR is being used interactively and in combination
with other software, to achieve non-deterministically designs. It is a design support system,
since it supports the user (designer) in the functional layout process rather than prescribes a
At urban scale, applications developed by Hyperbody have been addressing space
allocation in a similar way BR does: While at building scale spaces are allocated within a
building, at urban scale buildings and building clusters are allocated within an urban area
(Fig. 9). The allocation principle is, however, the same: Functions and dedicated volumes
swarm within the urban context towards local optimal spatial configurations (Jaskiewicz,
Fig. 9. Urban design studies implemented in interactive environments developed in
Obviously, these applications are of interest for Internet-supported education and research
as they enable interactive, collaborative, (virtually and physically present) multi-user design
and fabrication sessions.
4.2 Users’ interaction in education and research
The classical concept of distance learning implemented when time and distance separate
educators and students is increasingly replaced by Internet-supported systems that are
employed to assist daily academic interaction even when researchers, educators and
students are not separated by time or distance. This is the result of a conceptual and
methodological paradigm shift that implies an ongoing change towards pervasive
computing and ubiquitous education and research as already discussed in the previous
Considering the Internet as the start, Castells extrapolates 1996 the expected development of
such a networked system towards becoming pervasive, permeating the everyday life. The
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purpose of Internet-supported systems is, therefore, not anymore to only bridge time and
distance but to support everyday academic education and research by incorporating
ubiquitous, interactive devices into the physical space. In this context, Protospace can be
seen as a prototype for pervasive computing that is integrated into physical space and is
employed in academic daily life, whereas interaction between users and data takes place in
a networked, Internet-supported, embedded system.
In such a networked system, users are connected with other users, multimedia databases
and applications enabling reading and editing of data, sensing-actuating, and computing in
such a way that users interact physically and virtually as needed in a physical, digitally-
augmented environment.
By integrating concepts such as Autonomous Control (Uckelmann et al., 2010) the Internet
of Things is envisioned as a network in which self-organized virtual and physical agents are
able to act and interact autonomously with respect to context and environmental factors.
Such context awareness (Gellersen et al., 2000) implies data collection and information
exchange thus communication between users and physical environment; it may imply
acquisition of data with respect to users’ habits, emotions, bodily states, their social
interaction, and their regular and spontaneous activities as well as context data with respect
to spatial location, infrastructure, available resources, and physical conditions such as noise,
light, and temperature. Information exchange thus communication between physical
(sentient) environment and users may, however, not only imply accommodating but also
challenging interactions.
As a context aware system, Protospace is concerned with the acquisition of context data by
means of sensors, as mentioned before, the interpretation of the data collected by sensors,
and the triggering of accommodating and challenging actions as response to the
interpretation of collected data, whereas responses may imply operation of electrical light,
sun shading, and projection screens, depending on local and global needs, etc. Furthermore,
Protospace’s context awareness addresses also activity recognition as implemented in
interactive lectures and CAD-CAM sessions described in the previous sections.
5. Discussion and outlook
The on-going fusion of the physical and the virtual reflected in the convergence of the
Internet, mobile communication systems, and advanced human-computer interaction
technologies generates a reality-virtuality continuum (Milgram, 1994) containing all possible
degrees of real and virtual conditions so that the distinction between reality and virtuality
becomes blurred.
In this context, Protospace as a reality-virtuality continuum facilitates not only interactive
design and fabrication sessions but also interactive presentations for Internet-based
graduate programs (E-Archidoct) becoming a relevant platform for studying and
researching by connecting virtually students, educators and researchers from all over the
world. This implies that Protospace connects users and data physically and virtually in such
a way that activities in academic education and research are enhanced by the inherent use of
knowledge, software and hardware applications incorporated into it and the available
multiple interaction modes.
Internet-Supported Multi-User Virtual and Physical
Prototypes for Architectural Academic Education and Research
As technologies evolve and pervasive forms increasingly emerge, permeating all aspects of
academic everyday life, concepts such as distance learning are gradually replaced by
ubiquitous education and research implemented in sentient, interactive environments. The
traditional divide between formal (physical) and informal (virtual) contexts of education
and research is blurred. Technological as well as social, cultural, and institutional changes
mean that learning, studying, and researching are possible across spatial and temporal
barriers. Internet-supported academic education and research implies thus that the physical
environment with integrated, networked, interactive devices such as Protospace
incorporates increasingly aspects of context-awareness, adaptation, and anticipation,
(Zelkha et al., 1998; Aarts et al., 2001) supporting virtual and physical everyday academic
Such systems may show, however, as in the case of the E-Archidoct program, that only a
limited amount of students may participate successfully in such a program. Reasons for this
may be found not only in technological requirements but also in methodological constraints;
Students and educators from all over Europe participating in E-Archidoct were confronted
with one of the main barriers to such virtual collaborative interaction, which is the difficulty
in achieving agreement when diverse viewpoints, cultural boundaries, and different
working and cognitive learning styles exist (Dirckinck-Holmfeld, 2002).
Furthermore, students’ limited access to necessary software and hardware as well as
insufficient know-how in dealing with software and hardware was an additional problem:
Some design assignments within E-Archidoct, for instance, required software and hardware
to which not all students had access. Furthermore, local technical support (for tutors and
students) was needed in order to ensure successful participation in the program, this,
however, could not always be afforded.
Future developments of virtual and physical systems for Internet-based and –supported
education require, therefore, access of all participants to software and hardware as well as
development of computer literacy and technology know-how among them. This may be
implemented via educating students and researchers with respect to the use of Internet-
based facilities before starting specific education and research program but also implies
development of user-friendly software.
However, interaction models whether menu-driven or GUI-based (Graphical User
Interface) are improving and are increasingly supported by applications such as mobile
phones, radio-frequency identification tags, and GPS (Global Positioning System). As
these devices grow smaller, more connected and more integrated into spatial
environments so that only multimodal user interfaces remain perceivable for users (Aarts
et al., 2001), Hyperbody investigates and further develops their use for academic
education and research. Protospace, for instance, may operate in the future as physical
and virtual laboratory enabling users to even remotely conduct physical experiments from
other geographical locations. The benefits of such remote laboratories are known in
engineering education (Ferreira et al., 2010) and imply advantages such as: (1) Relaxation
of time constraints and 24/7 accessibility; (2) Relaxation of geographical constraints and
independence from physical locality of researchers; (3) Material costs reduction due to
sharing of lab costs and avoiding start-up costs for new laboratories; (4) Enhanced sharing
of knowledge, expertise and experience.
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In this context, research and education on architectural and urban design and production
may be then implemented with students, educators, and experts from all over the world,
interacting virtually and physically by means of multimodal interfaces, collaboratively
working in a multi-user, gaming environment, that is enabling them to access and
manipulate the same data on a common server synchronously or asynchronously, and even
implement remotely CAD-CAM experiments.
The relevant question for the future seems to be, therefore, not whether intelligent, sentient
environments may be built, but how these environments may be employed as instruments
for enhanced, distributed problem solving (Bowen-James, 1997; Novak, 1997), how
ubiquitous education and training may be implement in programs that promote digital
democracy and literacy by bridging the digital divide (Norris, 2001), how intelligence may
be embed into the physical environment in order to be made available to users.
6. Acknowledgment
Content presented in this paper has benefited, inter alia, from the contribution of the
Protospace, Hyperbody and E-Archidoct teams including on projects participating students.
Additional information with respect to presented projects may be found on the Hyperbody
website (
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... " (Rajeb, 2010) When developing our software we shared the idea of separating the sketch tool from the videoconference tool. Furthermore, study on interactive computer supported collaborative design environment by H. Bier (2012) was investigated, where Col-Lab sketch fit as a supplementary addition to much more complex programs. Nevertheless Bier mentions problems, that our application seems to target: availability of the software, easiness of use and possibility to connect a number of users without slowing the interactive digital process. ...
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In this paper we present an application we developed for collaborative sketch sharing within a design process. We review the specific application development process and discuss the features of the application itself. The tool has been tested and used in a design studio setting between two universities located in different countries. We observed that it is suitable for architectural communication, and also allows monitoring of the sketch activity during the design process. This paper also describes application architecture and selected technologies. We have furthermore defined multiple groups of application requirements. Our self-developed application was proven to suit specified needs and overcame previously tested commercial tools.
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This paper presents a remote test workbench that was developed to support on-line assignments dealing with the IEEE 1149.1 standard test access port and boundary-scan architecture. The remote test controller is based on the DS80C400 networked microcontroller from Maxim-Dallas, which offers a very cost-effective solution to the development of micro-webservers enabling low complexity data acquisition and control tasks. All remote experiments are integrated into Moodle in exactly the same way as the remaining courseware that is made available to the students. The use of Moodle facilitates the implementation of collaborative learning activities based on the remote test workbench, and the development of the workbench itself is the subject of a collaborative learning project involving students from the universities of Porto in Portugal and South Australia at Adelaide.
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Many of the initial developments towards the Internet of Things have focused on the combination of Auto-ID and networked infrastructures in businessto- business logistics and product life cycle applications. However, a future Internet of Things can provide a broader vision and also enable everyone to access and contribute rich information about things and locations. The success of social networks to share experience and personalised insights shows also great potential for integration with business-centric applications. The integration and interoperability with mainstream business software platforms can be enhanced and extended by real-time analytics, business intelligence and agent-based autonomous services. Information sharing may be rewarded through incentives, thus transforming the Internet of Things from a cost-focused experiment to a revenue-generating infrastructure to enable trading of enriched information and accelerate business innovation. Mash-ups and end-user programming will enable people to contribute to the Internet of Things with data, presentation and functionality. Things-generated physical world content and events from Auto-ID, sensors, actuators or meshed networks will be aggregated and combined with information from virtual worlds, such as business databases and Web 2.0 applications, and processed based on new business intelligence concepts. Direct action on the physical world will be supported through machine-interfaces and introduction of agile strategies. This chapter aims to provide a concept for a future architecture of the Internet of Things, including a definition, a review of developments, a list of key requirements and a technical design for possible implementation of the future Internet of Things. As open issues, the evaluation of usability by stakeholders in user-centric as well as business-centric scenarios is discussed and the need for quantifying costs and benefits for businesses, consumers, society and the environment is emphasised. Finally, guidelines are derived, for use by researchers as well as practitioners.
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Perception is a central issue for many applications in ubiquitous computing. However, in current implementations, sensing and distributed perception is re-invented over and over again. Identifying commonalities and synthesizing a common model would be more effective both from an economic as well as scientific perspective. We have analyzed the properties of ubicomp perception systems and used their characteristics as a main input for the design of a perception model. We present a layered perception model, discriminating functionality on artifact, setting, and application level. On the artifact layer, data collection, perception, and recognition for the particular artifact is modelled and implemented. The setting layer deals with perception and recognition tasks for a tightly coupled group of artifacts. In the application layer, perception and application-specific recognition resides. The approach was evaluated by building applications, two of which are also reported in the paper. The wider applicability of the model was assessed by analyzing further applications and how they map onto the artifact-based approach.
This article presents an optimization model of the quantifiable aspects of architectural floorplan layout design, and a companion article presents a method for integrating mathematical optimization and subjective decision making during conceptual design. The model presented here offers a new approach to floorplan layout optimization that takes advantage of the efficiency of gradient-based algorithms, where appropriate, and uses evolutionary algorithms to make discrete decisions and do global search. Automated optimization results are comparable to other methods in this research area, and the new formulation makes it possible to integrate the power of human decision-making into the process.
Considerable evidence indicates that domain specific knowledge in the form of schemas is the primary factor distinguishing experts from novices in problem-solving skill. Evidence that conventional problem-solving activity is not effective in schema acquisition is also accumulating. It is suggested that a major reason for the ineffectiveness of problem solving as a learning device, is that the cognitive processes required by the two activities overlap insufficiently, and that conventional problem solving in the form of means-ends analysis requires a relatively large amount of cognitive processing capacity which is consequently unavailable for schema acquisition. A computational model and experimental evidence provide support for this contention. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
From the Publisher: This ambitious book is an account of the economic and social dynamics of the new age of information. Based on research in the USA, Asia, Latin America, and Europe, it aims to formulate a systematic theory of the information society which takes account of the fundamental effects of information technology on the contemporary world. The global economy is now characterized by the almost instantaneous flow and exchange of information, capital and cultural communication. These flows order and condition both consumption and production. The networks themselves reflect and create distinctive cultures. Both they and the traffic they carry are largely outside national regulation. Our dependence on the new modes of informational flow gives enormous power to those in a position to control them to control us. The main political arena is now the media, and the media are not politically answerable. Manuel Castells describes the accelerating pace of innovation and application. He examines the processes of globalization that have marginalized and now threaten to make redundant whole countries and peoples excluded from informational networks. He investigates the culture, institutions and organizations of the network enterprise and the concomitant transformation of work and employment. He points out that in the advanced economies production is now concentrated on an educated section of the population aged between 25 and 40: many economies can do without a third or more of their people. He suggests that the effect of this accelerating trend may be less mass unemployment than the extreme flexibilization of work and individualization of labor, and, in consequence, a highly segmented socialstructure. The author concludes by examining the effects and implications of technological change on mass media culture ("the culture of real virtuality"), on urban life, global politics, and the nature of time and history. Written by one of the worlds leading social thinkers and researchers The Rise of the Network Society is the first of three linked investigations of contemporary global, economic, political and social change. It is a work of outstanding penetration, originality, and importance.
ONL (Oosterhuis and L?n?rd) architecture is based on digital design and fabrication, whereas the design merges into fabrication in a process of direct transfer of data from a 3D modeling software to a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machine. This paper describes ONL design and fabrication processes referring to three main aspects: (1) Form-Finding, (2) File to Factory, and (3) Real-Time Behavior.
Ubiquitous learning is supported by ubiquitous computing and represents the next step in the field of e-learning. The goal is, that learning environments will be accessed increasingly in various contexts and situations. From this chal-lenge, new questions arise concerning the adaptation of learning spaces to different contexts of use, so that they continue to enable and support learning processes. As a basic work in this direction, this paper introduces a first notion of a comprehensive definition of ‘plasticity of digital learning spaces’. It exem-plifies some of the facets affecting the plasticity and presents aspects of a first system prototype, which enables to select learning materials depending on a given situation. @InProceedings{bomsdorf:DSP:2005:371, author = {Birgit Bomsdorf}, title = {Adaptation of Learning Spaces: Supporting Ubiquitous Learning in Higher Distance Education}, booktitle = {Mobile Computing and Ambient Intelligence: The Challenge of Multimedia}, year = {2005}, editor = {Nigel Davies and Thomas Kirste and Heidrun Schumann}, number = {05181}, series = {Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings}, ISSN = {1862-4405}, publisher = {Internationales Begegnungs- und Forschungszentrum f{"u}r Informatik (IBFI), Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {}, annote = {Keywords: Ubiquitous Learning, Adaptation, e-Learning} }