CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work


Paper Report

Title: ClearBoard: A Seamless Medium for Shared Drawing and Conversation with Eye Contact
Authors: Hiroshi Ishii and Minoru Kobayashi
Citation: Ishii, H., and Kobayashi, M. (1992). ClearBoard: A Seamless Medium for Shared Drawing and Conversation with Eye Contact. Proceedings of CHI '92, ACM, pp. 525-532.
Reprinted in: Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: Assisting Human-Human Collaboration by Ronald M. Baecker on pp. 829-836


This paper describes the design of the ClearBoard system. It starts out by examining similar systems that came before ClearBoard. Then it goes on to describe the design rational behind the ClearBoard system. The authors set out to furfill the following three design requirements:
  1. direct drawing on the display screen surface must be supported
  2. the video image of a user must be taken through (behind) the screen surface (to achieve eye contact)
  3. common orientation of the drawing space, not only "top" and "bottom" but also "right" and "left", must be shared at both sites
One interesting result was found when the system was implemented. The authors discovered that eye contact is only part of a larger concept which they dubbed gaze awareness. This is the awareness of what the other person is looking at. The clear window metaphore with the person on the other side greatly enhanced gaze awareness. Enhancing gaze awareness is something that computer mediated communication is better at doing than face-to-face communication. With a traditional whiteboard, you would have to look at the person then back at the board to draw. This would limit your gaze awareness. These kinds of obstacles can be overcome in computer mediated communication. Overall, an interesting paper.
Report prepared by: Tom McCollum, Email: tommc@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: 4/16/97            Report date: 4/18/97