Problem Section (intro)   //   Applications (updated)
Sensors (EVA, VitalTouch, BioSuit, DrugBugs)
Often we've heard it said that we are in the 'information age.' The amount and diversity of information being produced in the many fields of human knowledge grows at a previously unimagined rate. Like the printing press, the computer has changed the way we create, use, and store information. Database and data management technologies have certainly become more powerful and efficient. Yet, even with these techniques, information gets buried and in some sense 'lost' in storage. While the information user may know of existing information he can't get at, as the amount grows he does not even know the new information being added! The best response all our information could produce is therefore not available to the crisis response expert. Why has it become more difficult, even unlikely, for a decision maker to get from raw data to meaningful perception, then decision? In the following multi-media presentation we hope to clearly and simply present the problem and the Grok-It solution for getting from data to perception.
In a very real sense, the information age has become the communications
age. The volume and diversity of the information we've created requires
that we create better ways to communicate all of it. Otherwise, it's as
though we didn't usefully have it in the first place. Why have it? Its
like having a huge bank account, but no way to get money out of it. It
is now a question of communications technology, and of human-information
interface technologies in particular. Grok-It science begins with the
assumption that current interaction with vast and diverse information
resources for urgent purposes is hindered by
How can we change the way information is presented? Again, we are looking to create both multi-sensory and perceptually enriched information to the user. We want to make visual, aural, and tactile renderings which are loaded with needed information for rapid use. Our goal is to conceptualize a system that brings together the different sensory renderings into one unified dynamic interface. Grok-It science handles this challenge by pulling together technological solutions which are being developed in different areas of human-computer interfacing. The ideas of data mining, knowledge discovery, and perceptualization of information are key to this work. Data mining and knowledge discovery are new and powerful ways of accessing quantities of data and doing unique searches through them. Perceptualization of information is concerned with how we take that data we have generated in our querry and put it into multisensory forms.
Mining & Knowledge Discovery
Perceptualization of Information
This is the Grok-It solution to the problem of getting information to multiple senses in richer forms for each of the senses. Towards what end? Of what kind of need for information is Grok-It science a solution?
It was a specific challenge that forced our thinking into the direction of Grok-It interface design. In emergency situations where people have been affected by natural catastrophe, war, or similar assaults, how do expert response personnel get effective and rapid access to the many kinds of information they need to respond adequately? What is the best way to make the response efficient, timely, and powerful? We believe it is a matter of having all the necessary information that could be made available. However, as important as the information is in itself, an inadequate presentation of the information is a hindrance to its value. Response personnel must not only have the most important information, but it must be available in a manner that opens up the most meaning possible, and that it do so rapidly. Decisions made with this benefit are very potent and help the greatest number of people and situations. Grok-It science is what we call an 'interventional informatic:' taking a Grok-It system and deploying it in a crisis response manner is intervening with information to alter an outcome. Applying Grok-It science to paticular need so as to optimize human outcomes is the goal of this work. Project Strong Angel was a kind of mock-up crisis response exercise that took place in the Hawaiin desert in Summer of 2000. Strong Angel is an international exercise which will encourage collaborative efforts between military forces, and private sector entities, with the goal of improving methods and matrices during disaster relief efforst. Our participation in Strong Angel was directed towards the substantial problems of interfacing experts with information assets-ones emerging from both the field and resources distributed on-line. These images from the Strong Angel project give a sense of the kinds of elements which are to be found in a crisis response situation, and the opportunities for deploying interface integrating systems outlined in this presentation.