At the MIT Arti cial Intelligence Laboratory we have been working on technologies for an Intelligent Room. Rather than pull people into the virtual world of the computer we are trying to pull the computer out into the real world of people. To do this we are combining robotics and vision technology with speech understanding systems, and agent based architectures to provide ready at hand computation and information services for people engaged in day to day activities, both on their own and in conjunction with others. We have built a layered architecture where at the bottom level vision systems track people and identify their activities and gestures, and through word spotting decide whether people in the room are talking to each other or to the room itself. At the next level an agent architecture provides a uniform interface to such specially built systems, and to other o the shelf software, such as web browsers, etc. At the highest level we are able to build application systems that provide occupants of the room with specialized services; examples we have built include systems for command and control situations rooms and as a room for giving presentations.
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