Blended Whiteboard: Physicality and Reconfigurability in Remote Mixed Reality Collaboration.

ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(2024)

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The whiteboard is essential for collaborative work. To preserve its physicality in remote collaboration, Mixed Reality (MR) can blend real whiteboards across distributed spaces. Going beyond reality, MR can further enable interactions like panning and zooming in a virtually reconfigurable infinite whiteboard. However, this reconfigurability conflicts with the sense of physicality. To address this tension, we introduce Blended Whiteboard, a remote collaborative MR system enabling reconfigurable surface blending across distributed physical whiteboards. Blended Whiteboard supports a unique collaboration style, where users can sketch on their local whiteboards but also reconfigure the blended space to facilitate transitions between loosely and tightly coupled work. We describe design principles inspired by proxemics; supporting users in changing between facing each other and being side-by-side, and switching between navigating the whiteboard synchronously and independently. Our work shows exciting benefits and challenges of combining physicality and reconfigurability in the design of distributed MR whiteboards.
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