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With pervasive computing, we envision a future in which computation becomes part of the environment. The computer forms (workstation, personal computer, personal digital assistant, game player) through which we now relate to computation will occupy only a small niche in this new computational world. Our relationship to pervasive computing will differ radically from our current relationship with computers. When computation becomes part of the environment, most human-computer interaction will be implicit, and it will have to take account of physical space. Physical space rarely matters in current human-computer interaction; but as computational devices become part of furniture, walls, and clothing, physical space becomes a necessary consideration. First, more than one person can occupy a space. Second, individuals within the space are doing things other than interacting with the computer: coming and going, and perhaps most strikingly, interacting with each other—not just with the computer. Finally, phy sical space provides a sense of place: individuals associate places with events and recurrent activities. The emerging relationship between people and pervasive computation is sometimes idealized as a “smart space”: the seamless integration of people, computation, and physical reality. This paper focuses on a particular kind of smart space, the “mediated space,” in which the space understands and participates in multiperson interaction. Mediated spaces will expand human capability by providing information management within a context associated with that space. The context will be created by recording interaction within the space and by importing information from the outside. Individuals will interact with the space explicitly in order to retrieve and analyze the information it contains, and implicitly by adding to the context through their speech and gesture. Achieving the vision of mediated spaces will require progress in both be- hind-the-scenes technology (how devices coordinate their act ivities) and at-the-interface technology (how the space presents itself to people, and how the space deals with multiperson interaction). This paper explores the research challenges in both of these areas, examining the behind-the-scenes requirements of device or manifestation description and context maintenance, as well as the interface problems of metaphor and understanding natural human-to-human spoken interaction.
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