It's time for next-generation remote collaboration

By Matt Stempeck

Way back in 2011, as a graduate student in the Tangible Interfaces course at MIT Media Lab, I dreamt up a solution that would solve a long-running problem with remote participation: while videochat technology was good enough to serve as a proxy for a seat at the table (depending on the degree of accommodation of those physically in the room), remote participants still missed out on crucial social moments like post-meeting sidebar conversations, hallway chatter, and coffee runs. My solution? Hack one of the helium-filled, remote controlled Air Swimmer clownfishes or sharks by attaching lightweight microphones and speakers (and maybe someday, screen).

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