MEdia Space

The MEdia Space is an experiment in re-designing a traditional media space to better support the needs of a teleworker who often works from home rather than commuting into the office. The system's design challenges the emphasis on maintaining symmetry typically found in other media space systems and is most clearly reflected in the physical placement and ownership of the system's nodes. The MEdia Space also incorporates a variety of physical sensors and actuators, which are employed to invite more natural usage of the system on the office side and to provide a heightened sense of awareness about activity in the office space for the remote teleworker.

This project is a work-in-progress. As a result, the features of the demonstration software and the focus of the research project may change significantly in the future.

The MEdia Space extends a previous demonstration project within the lab, Twinned Media Space .



This project is under active development and is intended for testing and evaluation purposes only. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK/PERIL!

A list of known bugs is being maintained online. If you happen to be using this project and discover any problems, please email Rob Diaz-Marino with a description of your bug or add it to the wiki page. (Thanks!)

Download and Installation

Prerequisites and Dependencies

  • Webcam (preferably with microphone)
  • Speakers
  • Skype


The system supports the presence of a Phidgets InterfaceKit module attached to USB and hosting two devices: an automatic door opener whose open/close toggle circuit is connected to a digital output, and a Phidgets infrared motion sensor. Optional are a phigets doorbell switch, and door detection switch.


The system supports the presence of a Phidgets InterfaceKit module attached to USB and hosting an optional motion sensor to detect presence.

Current Version


New Features

  • Version 2.1.16
    • Office: Peeking no longer conflicts with motion triggering. Found and fixed a minor performance problem with motion triggering.
  • Version 2.1.15
    • Home: Proper tooltips and minor cosmetic corrections to the button bar. Better feedback and more robust fuctionality for peek mode. Peek duration setting moved to Home node, removed from Office node.
  • Version 2.1.14
    • Office: Integrated tweening algorithms so that frame updates better represent actions that may occur between update intervals. Settings introduced to control this feature.
    • Home: Swapped out toolbar with actual buttons. This solves the double-clicking problem and gives better feedback when hovering and clicking.
    • Home: Double-clicking on the office video frame causes the office frame rate to increase briefly.
  • Version 2.1.13
    • Solved double-clicking window focus bug in Home Window
    • Added optional frame tweening functionality. Tweening method is controlled by Home node, but quantity of tweened frames is controlled locally. Implemented two different methods: greatest change, and blended.
  • Version 2.1.12
    • Fixed away image loading problem.
    • Fixed chat panel resizing problem.
    • Removed "away" button - a debugging tool which was left in the release by accident.
  • Version 2.1.11
    • Home node contains support for motion sensor and automatic presence detection. Can be configured to automatically display an away image if no motion is detected for a certain amount of time.
  • Version 2.1.10
    • Office and Home nodes no longer crash if Skype is not installed on the local machine. Runs normally with warning prompt on startup, and phone icon permanently disabled. Handles mixed case where one machine has skype and other does not, by disabling calling on both sides.
  • Version 2.1.9
    • Added a remote restart helper application that can be invoked directly from the Home node.
    • Potential fix for Screen Saver memory leak issue. Feedback on effictiveness is required.
    • Potential fix for simultaneous calling race condition. Feedback on effectiveness is required.
    • Ping disconnection protocol added - will this help with video transmission problems?
  • Version 2.1.8
    • Reworked all icons, repositioned buttons on Home Node to be always accessible no matter the window size.
    • Adjusted motion detection triggering algorithm to use a difference threshold rather than a value threshold, in order to eliminate false positives.
    • Text message font size increased on office node. Text message notification options added.
  • Version 2.1.7
    • Timestamps displayed on Home Node images
    • Door open/closed button indicates door state on Home Node
    • Office Node manually invokes garbage collection on an interval in attempt to prevent out of memory errors
  • Version 2.1.6
    • Phonecall locking to eliminate call starting race condition
    • Door open/closed indicator fixed on Home node
  • Version 2.1.5
    • Privacy blinds feature on Home node.
    • Support for Door open/closed phidgets switch.
    • Support for local echoing of doorbell for phidgets switch.

Bug Tracking

Archived Versions

To Install

  • Install the Skype client on both the home and office machines
  • Download and install the MSI installer of the MEdia Space

Running the MEdia Space

  • Ensure that Skype is running and logged into the account you wish to use to send and receive MEdiaSpace calls.
  • Run either the Home or Office node - whichever is appropriate
  • On first execution, Skype will ask you if you would like to allow the application to acces it. Click "ALLOW".
  • If windows firewall pops up a message regarding the MEdiaSpace, make sure you click "Unblock".

Project Members