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Response to [A spatial model …] by Benford & Fahlén

One Sentence

This paper introduces a spatial model for mediating interaction between persons and/or objects inhabiting a  virtual space that is commonly present in CSCW systems.

More Sentences

Such a spatial model builds upon several concepts:

    • Medium: through which interactions take place, e.g., image, audio;
    • Aura: a bounding box of an entity in which interaction with it is possible through certain media;
    • Focus: a field of view in which an entity is dedicating its attention to;
    • Nimbus: the periphery of an entity in which it can be kept aware of by the others.
    • Adapter: artefacts that affect the above measures of an entity.

Key Points

  • Spatial metrics: a way of measuring position and direction
  • How the model is used:The model uses the properties of space as the basis for mediating interaction. Thus, objects can navigate space in order to form dynamic sub-groups and manage conversations within these sub-groups.
    • Where the interacting objects are humans, the model provides mechanisms for conversation management;
    • Where the interacting objects are artefacts, the model provides mechanisms for constructing highly reactive environments where objects dynamically react to the presence of others.
  • The level of awareness that object A has of object B in medium M is some function of A’s focus on B in M and B’s nimbus on A in M.


  • Some of this stuff is very similar to proximity, e.g., “The aura surrounding the whiteboard is used to enable whiteboard access and use (e.g., by automatically assigning a pen to a user when their aura collides with that of the whiteboard)”
  • Actually, focus and nimbus can be represented by a vector anchoring to the entity (e.g., the ‘forward’ vector)
  • Try considering the mobile device and the user (even his body parts) are two entities and see if this model works for them.


About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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