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Research Abstracts - 2006
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Kimono: Kiosk-Mobile Phone Knowledge Sharing System

Albert S. Huang, Kari Pulli & Larry Rudolph


The functionality of an information kiosk can be extended by allowing it to interact with a smartphone, as demonstrated by the Kimono system, and the user interface can be greatly simplified by ``associations" between pieces of information. A kiosk provides information that is relevant to a particular location and can use valuable context information, such as the fact that a user is physically standing in front of the kiosk, to tailor the display. Its graphically rich screen is suitable for presenting information to the user and has a natural input modality requiring the user to simply touch the screen. However, a kiosk lacks mobility and cannot stay with the user as he or she moves about the environment. Also, information provided by the kiosk must be remembered by the user. Finally, it is difficult to add information to the kiosk, and so the kiosk remains an information display device.

All this changes when a handset, such as a PDA or smartphone, can interact with the kiosk. The handset acts like a personalized proxy of the kiosk. It accompanies the user serving as a memory device. It is also an excellent media creation device, capable of taking pictures and recording voice memos as well as short text messages. Associating newly created content with other currently selected content makes for a simpler user interface. Content and its associations can be uploaded to a kiosk allowing others to access to it.


The field of ubiquitous computing [11] studies how computers move from desktops, places where people go to work and access computing, to places where people live and interact with other people. The Oxygen Kiosk Network (OK-net) [1, 9, 10] is an effort to bring the promises of ubiquitous computing to public and transient spaces in the workplace, such as hallways, lounges, tea kitchens and elevator lobbies, to explore how technology can enhance informal encounters within these spaces. The project has placed several information kiosks around our campus building that deliver immediate access to digital information that is relevant and interesting to people nearby, and that foster a sense of community within large organizations by providing interactive public displays as a participatory shared medium of communication.

These information kiosks provide various services: they inform people of upcoming events such as lectures, show the time and weather information, and provide personnel directories and maps. They are conveniently available by corridors and elevators where people pass by. However, since these kiosks are not truly ubiquitous, and do not recognize the users, they cannot provide services such as reminding the user of a selected event or showing how to get there. Such services could be provided by an information appliance that can store and process information such as knowledge, facts, graphics, images, video, and sound.

A handheld information device, such a smartphone, can overcome many of these limitations. The device is personal and is easily carried around. The user can select a subset of interests out of the larger set of information available on a kiosk and download that to the device, and the device can remind of an upcoming event and provide associated information. The user can also take notes and associate new user-created information with those events, and share that information back with other users either directly and personally, or via kiosk to everybody. The combination of a public kiosk and private handheld information device provides a good balance between public and private information, as well as potentially available vs.\ personally interesting information.

The original OK-net kiosk [10] was preceded by many other projects on information kiosks. The first widely available public kiosks were the bank ATMs already in 1970's. Morris et. al. [7] discuss the selection of components for constructing kiosk systems. The Digital Smart Kiosks Project [3] studied how kiosks can be made more approachable by using animated avatars that would watch and summon users passing by. There has been a recent trend to concentrate on multimodal interfaces for a kiosk [2, 6]. Mobile devices with localization support have been studied for local services [8]. Greenberg et. al [4] studied how private mobile devices and public large displays can be used to facilitate computer supported cooperative work.

Our focus is on extending an information kiosk so that selected information can be downloaded onto a mobile device, the mobile device can guide and remind the user of upcoming events, more information can be created and associated with existing information, and the new information can be shared with other mobile devices or the kiosk. This is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Information in the Kimono system flows both between handsets and kiosks as well as between handsets and other handsets.


We give thanks to Calvin On, Emily Yan, and Xiao Yu for their efforts in implementing the Kimono system; to Max Van Kleek and Tyler Horton for their work on the Oxygen Kiosk Network; and to Mark Adler and Howard Shrobe for discussions. This work was sponsored in part by MIT Project Oxygen and the Singapore-MIT Alliance.


[1] The oxygen kiosk network. http://org.csail.mit.edu/ oknet.

[2] J. Cassell and T. Stocky and T. Bickmore and Y. Gao and Y. Nakano and K. Ryokai and D. Tversky and C. Vaucelle and H. Vilhjalmsson. Mack: Media lab autonomous conversational kiosk. In Proceedings of IMAGINA02, 2002.

[3] A. D. Christian and and B. L. Avery. Digital smart kiosk project. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference, ACM Press, 155.162. 1998.

[4] S. Greenberg and M. Boyle and J. Laberge. Pdas and shared public displays: Making personal information public, and public information personal. Personal Technologies 3, 1 pp. 54--64, Mar, 1999.

[5] A. Huang and K. Pulli and L. Rudolph, Kimono: Kiosk-Mobile Phone Knowledge Sharing System. In the Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia. Christchurch, New Zealand, 2005.

[6] M. Johnston and S. Bangalore. Multimodal applications from mobile to kiosk. In W3C Workshop on Multimodal Interaction, 2004.

[7] G. Morris and T. Sanders and A. Gilman and S. J. Adelson and S. Smith. Kiosks: A technological overview. Tech. Rep. LA-UR-95-1672, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1995.

[8] T. Ojala and J. Korhonen and M. Aittola and M. Ollila and T. Koivumaki and J. Tahtinen and H. Karjaluoto. Smartrotuaari - context-aware mobile multimedia services. In Proceedings of 2nd International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, 2003.

[9] L. Rudolph. Project oxygen: Pervasive, humancentric computing - an initial experience. In Advanced Information Systems Engineering: 13th International Con ference, CAiSE 2001, Springer-Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 2068, 2001.

[10] M. Van Kleek. Intelligent Environments for Informal Public Spaces: the Ki/o Kiosk Platform. Master's thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 2003

[11] M. Weiser. The computer for the 21st century. Scientific American 265, 3 pp. 94--104, Sep, 1991.

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