Local user at the San Jose Museum of Art
Remote User Applet
Chit Chat Club ZeroOne/ISEA 2006 home | interface | users
SocialSpaces UIUC 2006
Ginger’s physical form is a single smoothly curving  transparent 3/4” sheet of plexi-glass.
Ginger provides the guest with an abstracted visualization of audio as remote presence information. In order to interact while embodying the chair, one need only speak to the guests present in the c4f3 and let Ginger handle the visuals.
Initially, when Ginger is idle our visualization displays a fan of static white lines converging from the top of the projected surface to a center point along the at the base of the projection surface (Figure 1). When Ginger is “occupied” and the virtual guest speaks, a series of white circles descend from top of Ginger for the along the converging lines. The static lines become more active and are attracted to each circle as it descends. Larger circles are generated as the virtual guest speaks louder producing wilder activity between the lines. Activity is visually emphasized when guests speak loudly, circles become red.
Ginger allowed virtual guests to augment the projection with images from their own collection (Figure 2).  Guests  could drag and drop an image from their own computer directly onto their web interface. This offered a way to customize the look of Ginger as well as a mechanism to share personal content during conversation.
Web Presence
Virtual guests accessed Chit Chat Club avatars located in the c4f3 via a web interface; http://chitchatclub.org.
By selecting Ginger, a guest was initially routed to a Java applet queue until the chair was available. In this queue, one could see and interact with all other guests waiting to occupy Ginger. The queue acted as a lobby where people conversed about what they were expecting. It offered a social space of it’s own and many users commented on it’s simple yet effective design.
When a guest reached the front of the queue and Ginger became available, a 15 second transition period allowed the guest to wrap up conversation in the queue before being transferred to the avatar interface. They now saw a live video-feed of their cafe companions via flash as well as a Java applet representation of how they appeared to the cafe guests.
Our interface was dimensioned to resemble an instant messenger client.  The interface for Ginger could then remain simple and unobtrusive on a user’s screen. It also seemed appropriate to mirror tools used extensively for online communication.