Collaboration tool provides personal and shared views from single display

A tabletop display that allows users to view shared and personal content simultaneously could have a huge impact on collaboration after a team of scientists showcased a prototype system at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in the USA. The team, led by the University of Bristol in the UK, presented PiVOT (personalised view-overlays for tabletops) with a series of mixed-focus collaborative tasks.

Researchers from the University’s Department of Computer Science showed how, through two view zones, PiVOT could provide personalised views to individual users while presenting an unaffected and unobstructed shared view to all users.

The system supports multiple personalised views, which can be present at the same spatial location and yet be only visible to the users it belongs to. It also allows the creation of personal views that can be either 2D or auto-stereoscopic 3D images.

Sriram Subramanian, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science’s Interaction and Graphics group, said: "The tabletop system has been created by using an arrangement of liquid crystals. Users can come together and view shared content or by leaning forward can get personalised views that are only visible from that particular viewpoint.

"For example, when looking at a city map, if I want to see traffic information I can lean forward and see the traffic-overlay while other people can, at the same time, lean forward and see the elevation information for a particular street. Everyone else who is not leaning forward will continue to see the undistorted city map. Their view will not interfere with mine, even if it is on the same spatial location."