Eric Ameres, Graduate Student and EMPAC Senior Research Engineer

Eric Ameres, Graduate Student and EMPAC Senior Research Engineer


When we need to consider information as a group, most of us turn to a computer projector and a mouse. The world may be round, but our only digital option for exploring it in a meeting is on a flat screen. Surpassing that limitation by creating new computer interfaces that allow people to intuitively share and manipulate data would vastly expand the power of computers in collaborative decision-making situations (think business, medicine, and design).

The Campfire is a new computing interface that allows a small group of users to collaboratively consider information. The platform was developed by Eric Ameres, an EMPAC senior research engineer and Rensselaer doctoral student, and Gordon Clement, an EMPAC media systems integrator and Rensselaer graduate. As suggested by its name,
the Campfire is a projection device shaped like a cylindrical fire pit, about six feet in diameter and two feet high. A wide rim surrounds the top of the cylinder, allowing users to gather around the Campfire and view data projected onto the walls and flat circular
floor of the device. Related data sets or images can be projected onto different locations inside the Campfire, with the edge between the surfaces acting as a blending site.

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