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Queen's University Human Media Lab, Kingston, Canada
Sunday 30 Sep 2012
Laboratories and other work environments are notorious for being designed as functional, linear spaces that are not suitable for innovative thinking.
The Queen's University Human Media Lab, however, is an open space with work stations that allow for a flexible, interactive environment where the digital and physical can merge to shape, experiment, and inspire.
The Human Media Lab's aesthetic design turns physical objects into raw information that can be used and re-used. The colours, textures, materials, and window forms all convey a sense of morphing and blurring of virtual space and reality. It stands on the front edge of technology, altering existing conceptions of everyday physical objects as well as the workspace.
Here, the walls and floor flow into each other like bits of data, mimicking the endless boundaries of technological planes, cycling into infinity. Individual cubicle pods give visitors an isolated space to contemplate. While allowing for intense focused work, eye trackers can recognize when people in adjoining cubicles are looking at each other, automatically turning the translucent glass between them transparent for instant connection and seamless communication. A cantilevered table provides space for collaborative work. Walls and windows are flexible and curved, rather than straight and flat. One of the laboratory's main features is a 16-by-9 feet interactive flexible display with gesture technology as seen in the futuristic Tom Cruise film Minority Report. Users in front of the wall-sized display use in-air gestures to control the user interface by moving objects around the screen.
The Human Media Lab encompasses the new way people engage with the workspace; interacting with future computers seamlessly integrated into their surrounding environment while maintaining a communal facility for collaboration, inspiration, and endless possibilities.