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Augmenting Face to Face Conversation

CNN Explorers Video UIST 2004 Video

Much of our lives are spent communicating with others: in a study of office workers, Panko found that 60–85% of their time at work was spent in interpersonal communication. Increasingly, our interactions are in mobile settings. Whittaker found that 17% of the total work day was spent in conversations while “roaming” or away from the desk. Current systems cannot support this type of communication for a variety of reasons including lack of mobility, cognitively demanding user interfaces, and social inappropriateness.

To overcome these limitations, our mobile interfaces are designed explicitly for the needs and abilities of a user engaged in face to face conversation. Since conversations are often brief, the fast storage and retrieval of information, unobtrusive interfaces, and minimal distraction from the dialogue are a necessity. Dual-purpose speech is one technique we use to address these requirements.

A dual–purpose speech interaction is one where the speech serves two roles. First, it is socially appropriate and meaningful in the context of a human–to–human conversation. Second, the speech provides useful input to a computer. By using dual-purpose speech, input is reduced, output is accelerated, interfaces are simplified, and distraction is minimized.

Our current prototypes use dual-purpose speech to assist users with appointment scheduling. The Calendar Navigation Agent monitors the user's speech and displays calendar information on a head-up display as the conversation progresses. Dialog Tabs attempts to minimize user distraction by buffering and indexing appointment conversations for later processing. Speech Courier asynchronously relays the scheduling discourse between two people to a third party not present in the conversation.


Augmenting Conversations Using Dual–Purpose Speech
Kent Lyons, Christopher Skeels, Thad Starner, Cornelis M. Snoeck, Benjamin A. Wong, Daniel Ashbrook.
Proceedings of 17th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, Santa Fe, NM, USA, October 24-27, 2004.
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Providing Support for Mobile Calendaring Conversations: A Wizard of Oz Evaluation of Dual-Purpose Speech
Kent Lyons, Christopher Skeels, Thad Starner
Proceedings of Mobile HCI 2005, Salzburg, Austria. September 2005
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Research Group

Prof. Thad Starner
Kent Lyons
Christopher Skeels
Nirmal Patel

Research Organizations

GVU (Graphics, Visualization, and Usability) Center


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