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Group collaboration among human users and cognitive agents is a key area of interest within the newly formed Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Researchers at Rensselaer discuss the Campfire, a new platform created at Rensselaer for group interactions which complements traditional large scale immersive environments.

You’re in a meeting making a plan. Everyone is taking notes, but the conversation roams, going from one item, and one speaker, to another, and as the hour comes to a close, it’s hard to remember who said what and which assignments were doled out to whom. Some of the questions that came up went unanswered. Worse than that, despite all the smarts in the room, several complications were overlooked and nobody noticed.

The Campfire is a new computing interface that allows a small group of users to collaboratively consider information. The platform was developed by Eric Ameres, an EMPAC senior research engineer and Rensselaer doctoral student, and Gordon Clement, an EMPAC media systems integrator and Rensselaer graduate.
IBM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have formed a joint research initiative, the Cognitive and Immersive Systems Lab, or CISL, to develop environments combining immersive displays and interaction technologies with cognitive computing.