Rethinking the Podium

Abstract

As the use of rich media in mobile devices and smart environments becomes more sophisticated, so must the design of the everyday objects used as controllers and interfaces. Many new interfaces simply tack electronic systems onto existing forms. However, an original physical design for a smart artefact, that integrates new systems as part of the form of the device, can enhance the end-use experience. The Convertible Podium is an experiment in the design of a smart artefact with complex integrated systems for the use of rich media in meeting rooms. It combines the highly designed look and feel of a modern lectern with systems that allow it to serve as a central control station for rich media manipulation. The interface emphasizes tangibility and ease of use in controlling multiple screens, multiple media sources (including mobile devices) and multiple distribution channels, and managing both data and personal representation in remote telepresence.