Define Supporting Infrastructure


A use case needs to be supported by proper capabilities, or functionalities, of an interactive workspace so that the tasks in the use case can be carried out in an effective manner.  Take facility maintenance design review use case as an example, for the reviewers to examine walkthrough models collaboratively, the interactive workspace needs to have model visualization functionalities. If the maintenance staff needs to test the navigation of tight space in a mechanical room, motion tracking functionalities may be necessary. This page documents a taxonomy of the capacities of an interactive workspace.


The table below provides a taxonomy for categorizing interactive workspace capacities. A capacity is a high level function of the workspace, which can have different attributes when being implemented in physical workspace. The left column lists the capability and the right column lists the corresponding attributes of the capability to help further categorize the capability.



Model Visualization

Scaled visualization

Full scale visualization


Enables showing 3D models or simulation models, such as BIM models, energy simulation models, light simulation models, in a way such that a group of people can view and examine the model collaboratively. Scale visualization means the 3D models are displayed in certain scale. Full scale visualization means the 3D models are viewed in 1:1 full scale.

Supporting components:

    1. High resolution display with large size

Ubiquitous Information Display




Ubiquitous displays are usually needed to display the large amount of information needed in design and construction process. Centralized displays are those displays that are connected and controlled through a central hub. Independent displays are controlled by different independent terminals.

Supporting components:

    1. Control Panel

    2. Center Console


Video conferencing

Screen content sharing

Audio conferencing


Conferencing capability enables users in the interactive workspace to connect to people in remote places and share various types of information. Conferencing usually enables at least audio communication. Based on conferencing needs, video channel and screen sharing is often needed.

Supporting components:

    1. High definition video camera(s) 

    2. Wireless microphones

    3. Video conferencing dedicated system

Adaptive Space Layout

Fully reconfigurable

Partially reconfigurable


Adaptive space layout allows the workspace to be reconfigured. Different activities or use cases may pose different requirements on the space layout. For example, in a use case that focuses on one to many communication, which can be one person presents to a group or a group watch the same on screen content, it is better to have the group facing the information source. However, if discussion or multiway communication prevail in the use case, space should be laid out in a way that communicating to any other participant in the meeting is relatively easy and natural. Fully reconfigurable space refers to the full mobility of all the fixtures, such as tables and chairs, in the space, so they can be easily rearranged for various purposes. Partially reconfigurable means part of the space is impossible or difficult to move and reconfigure.

Supporting components:

    1. Movable furnitures (Chairs and tables)

Mobility of Display

Fully movable

Partially movable


Display system is the key media to supply information to the users of the interactive workspace. Display system does not have to be electronic, it can be whiteboard and even large sheets of paper. Many activities in the workspace need to be centered around display media. Fully movable means the entire display system can be moved to fit the needs of the activities in the space. Partially movable means part of the display system, for example, one or two movable large LED panels combined with a heavy fixed virtual reality display system.

Supporting components:

    1. Movable display systems

Diverse user system/computer interaction

Voice control

Touch Control

Traditional input 

Gaming input

Other sensor input


Multiple input methods refers to the flexibility of user workspace interaction. Voice control is the capability to send command to the system by speaking out. Touch control is the touch screen like interaction. Traditional input is the keyboard and mouse when interacting with the computing side of the workspace. Whiteboards or blackboards is also part of the traditional input

Supporting components:

    1. Touch Interactive Whiteboard

    2. Gesture input device(s)

    3. Control panel

    4. Multi-modal interfaces

Virtual Reality Capabilities

Fully Immersive



Virtual reality capability....

Motion tracking tracks the users head and body movement in certain space and adjust the viewport of the model so that the virtual world appears to be at right scale and perspective all time for the tracked user. Infrared tracking uses infrared cameras and infrared reflective markers. Magnetic tracking uses magnetic transmitter and attach sensors on the user to capture motions. Optical tracking uses image and depth recognition to capture user's movements

Supporting components:

    1. Motion Tracking Camera

    2. High resolution active/passive stereo projectors

    3. Active stereo glasses

    4. Head Mounted Display Devices

Virtual Reality Capability —Stereoscopic Projection

Active stereoscopic

Passive stereoscopic


Allow the projection to have stereoscopic effect, which further helps the depth perception of the content viewers and thus improving the sense of immersion. Active stereoscopic is an implementation method that requires active shutter glasses and syncing between the glasses and the projector. Passive stereoscopic is a simpler implementation method that requires only stereo glass (think the ones used in 3D movies).

Supporting components:

    1. High resolution active/passive stereo projectors

    2. Active/Passive stereo glasses

    3. Motion tracking cameras

Virtual Reality Capability —Motion Tracking

Infrared tracking

Magnetic tracking

Optical tracking


Motion tracking tracks the users head and body movement in certain space and adjust the viewport of the model so that the virtual world appears to be at right scale and perspective all time for the tracked user. Infrared tracking uses infrared cameras and infrared reflective markers. Magnetic tracking uses magnetic transmitter and attach sensors on the user to capture motions. Optical tracking uses image and depth recognition to capture user's movements

Supporting components: 

    1. Tracking Cameras



Typical Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse & Keyboard

Description: Mouse is  a pointing device that detects two-dimensional motion relative to a surface, and  keyboard is used as a text entry interface to type text and numbers into a word processor, text editor or other programs.

Purpose: Perform most of basic and universal tasks

Touch Interactive Whiteboard

Description: A large interactive display that connects to a computer, with a projector projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface where users control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus, or other device.

Purpose: Enable users to view and sketch drawings electronically


High definition video camera(s) 

Description: The camera(s) are able to capture images of at minimum 720 scan lines at rates faster than 60 frames per second.

Purpose: Support clear stream transmission in video conferencing

Cisco Telepresence PrrecisionHD Camera

Wireless microphones

Description: The microphones transmit the audio signal from the microphone by radio waves to a nearby receiver codec, which recovers and records the audio.

Purpose: Necessary for communication in video conferencing

Revolabs Executive HD™


Gesture input device(s)

Description: User's finger movements are captured and analyzed, and then the device communicates this data to connected smart devices. 

Purpose: Enable friendly input for specific purposes


ICon Lab in University Park, PA

High resolution screens of large size

Description: The screens are able to display 3D and 4D models in stereo at full scale with semi-immersive or complete immersive setup. High flexibility of the device allows users to push various content sources to any of the screens.

Purpose: Enable stereoscopic full-scale virtual reality display(s)

Christie Mirage HD6K-M Projector

High resolution active/passive stereo projectors

Description: The projectors are able to provide 3D visualization with dual image processing capabilities. High image quality, reliability, and brightness should be secured at above average frequency (typically at 120Hz).

Purpose: Enable sharp 3D graphic presentation

Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2

Head Mounted Display Devices 

Description: Graphic images are displayed on a screen or a pair of screens in the helmet. A tracking sensor in the device tracks where the participant is looking at. The display can then quickly display the correct image that reflects the user's view angle. This implementation enables the participant to look around the virtual environment in a way that is very similar to the real world.

Purpose: allow more immersive and sensitive virtual reality display

Christie 3D active glasses

Active stereo glasses

Description: Active stereo glasses shutters its lens frequently (typically at 60Hz) so that at a certain time only one of the eyes can see the image on display. The active glasses receives syncing signal from the display so that the shutter of the glasses is in sync with the refresh rate of the display. This way each eye is guaranteed to see a different set of the image that are offset.

 Purpose: Enable users to receive 3D images

An example of video wall

LCD video wall(s) 

Description: A special multi-monitor setup that consists of multiple screens tiled together contiguously or overlapped in order to form one large screen. Screens specifically designed for use in video walls usually have narrow gaps between active display areas, and are built with long-term serviceability in mind.

Purpose: Support blended display on large plane



Description: High definition images are displayed at minimum of 1080p per frame.

Purpose: Support various uses including presentation and video conferencing


Surround audio system

Description: The system enriches sound reproduction quality with multiple speakers surrounding the users, and provides sound from a 360 degrees radius in the workspace.

Purpose: Support immersive audio feeling in presentation

JBL Speakers

Cisco Unified IP Conference Station

Video conferencing dedicated system

Description: The system is capable of distributing audio for telecommunication between people in real-time. Usually some devices such as speakers, amplifier, signal processor and echo cancellation mixer are included.

Purpose: Transmit high definition audio to facilitate remote conference


ICon Lab's Console at Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA

Central Console or Workstation

Description: The central console provides all the general data processing power to facilitate proper operation on most facilities in the workspace. Usually it is installed with  Professional or higher version of 64-bit OS.

Purpose: Fully support all potential hardware and software in Interactive Workspace

Access port(s) for portable devices

Description: Such device(s) has to support various types of data transmission interfaces, and typically is connected to the central console.

Purpose: Allow for multiple computers and/or workstations


NVIDIA Quadro K5000 Graphics Card

Stereo-enabled graphics card(s)

Description: The equipment(s) is necessary to provide high resolution graphic data at high rates to multiple displaying areas and devices.

Purpose: Support most visualization tasks


Control panel

Description: A friendly user interface is implemented on the (touch) panel to switch on and off all the equipments in the workspace. The control panel can also distribute visual and audio content to appropriate devices according to specific uses.

Purpose: Realize one-stop integrated control

AMX 7" Modero® Tabletop Touch Panel


Tracking cameras

Description: They are technically specialized cameras designed to detect user's movement, which facilitate delicate control over avatars and/or objects in presentations.

Purpose: Enable real-time control through tracking users’ movement

Xbox Controller

Multi-modal interfaces

Description: They are usually additional devices, such as wand, flystick, Xbox controller, to allow users to have advanced control over visual and audio content for specific uses.

Purpose: Provide enhanced experience in manipulating specific contents

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