Digital Studio Lab
The Digital Studios Lab of LUCID is a unique and original enhanced environment dedicated to experimentation and observation of design activity, especially collaborative work on an architectural, engineering or design project.
It enables one to carry out life-size experiments based on situations involving complex collaboration by offering a large variety of co-presence or remote team-work configurations. It is made up of five interconnected spaces: on a 120 m² physical plateau, the first meeting room (Studio 1 measures 40 m² and can seat 10 persons), the second meeting/training room (Studio 2 measures 60m² for 15 persons) and the control room (20 m²); this plateau is completed with a mobile space (Studio M, made up of dispersible elements) and a meta-space (Studio + formed by an international network).
Studio 1 is for meetings around a large size digital table (DIN AO+) with pens with a HD projector, connected to a video-conference device and a graphical-interaction system, SketSha, developed by LUCID (see below). It makes it possible to hold a meeting with 6 collaborators, of whom 3 are in the room and 3 at a distance, with 4 or 5 in situ observers. Three fixed cameras (of which one PTZ), an integrated camera and a digital table to capture different elements making up the interactions supporting the meeting: document-sharing, verbal and gestural conversations, graphic annotations and socio-emotional exchanges, etc.
Studio 2 is for meetings and directed work where up to 20 persons can be associated. Besides the same digital- projection table equipment as Studio 1, this space integrates a large interactive wall (3X DIN AO+) which is also connected to the SketSha system. Under the lenses of 3 fixed cameras (of which one is PTZ), it enables, for example, to hold sessions to review the project dividing the actors between the table, the interactive wall and different mobile devices (see “Studio M” below), and can hold up to 12 observers and 3 to 5 remote actors.
Studio M is the set of multiple mobile tools which complete the studios described above. It is made up of 4 interactive mobile consoles, which associate a digital surface of middle-size format (DIN A3), a connection to the SketSha system and a videoconference screen. It also has a dismountable large format (DIN AO+) digital table, with a projection column, enabling the installation of a comfortable collaborative desk on request. More recently, its equipment has been enriched with 4 autonomous small-sized digital tablets for pens (DIN A4 HD) on which Sketsha also works. Finally, the laboratory has mobile video recording equipment (cameras, feet, micros) completing its data-collecting arsenal. These mobile devices enable one to add complementary actors in the situation of co-presence work, or to equip remote partners to enable them to join collaborative activities.
Studio + is meta: the plateau of LUCID is in fact at the center of an international network which groups together research or teaching partners who are themselves equipped with remote collaboration devices coming from LUCID technology.
The control room holds the observation post and collects exchanges between the different co-presence and remote collaboration devices. It includes a video-programmable recording system, which enables the PTZ camera to be piloted and collect multiple entry signals from other local cameras. It also has a video work station to mount and treat sequences which are then deposited on a local video server and thus is made available to PhD students, ULg researchers and remote partners.
Four specific software tools, developed by LUCID, make up the active part of the installation.
SketSha (for Sketch Sharing) is the heart of the graphical interaction: based on an interface with electronic pens, this software enables one to create, manipulate and annotate virtual documents in real time, in co-presence or remote presence, putting collaborators in a situation of enhanced design.
SketSha is the system that manages the SketSha licenses. It enables the creation of user’s accounts, the attribution of software functions accessible according to the kinds of licenses and the maintenance of user groups using the procedures for invitation to collaborative work sessions. 0sketSha is managed by LUCID from one of the seven externalized servers.
Read more about SketSha on www.sketsha.be
SketSha Server is the system that manages the SketSha licenses. It enables the creation of user’s accounts, the attribution of software functions accessible according to the kinds of licenses and the maintenance of user groups using the procedures for invitation to collaborative work sessions. SketSha Sever is managed by LUCID from one of the seven externalized servers.
SketSha Replay is the system for encoding the data recorded by SketSha: synchronizing every multi-video sequence coming from the video server of the control room, it enables one to specify in detail multi-modal actions making up a multi-actor collaborative work session (speech, gestures, attitudes, annotations) but also the state of the artefacts worked on together (state of the design object, presentations, documents) and the collaborative activities themselves (information, question, decision, validation, coordination,…)
COMMON Tools is an interactive web tool for analysis and visualization of data dedicated to collaborative activity sessions. Developed in the framework of the COMMON project, the system is accessible on-line; the system is host to different formats of CVS input, all based on the same principle of “action temporality by actor”. It offers a procedure to control raw data, a variety of complex calculations on multimodal similitudes, numerous simple and crossed statistics, as well as a large range of visual formalisms to express them. Thus, it presents a powerful and original means of analysis of complex collaborative activities made available to researchers, post-PhD students, PhD students, and master students.
Academic in charge : Pierre Leclercq