Casablanca: Designing Social Communication Devices for the Home

Debby Hindus

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 20, 2001

The Casablanca project explored how media space concepts could be incorporated into households and family life. This effort included prototypes built for the researchers' own home use, field studies of households, and consumer testing of design concepts. A number of previously unreported consumer preferences and concerns were uncovered and incorporated into several original prototypes, most notably ScanBoard and the Intentional Presence Lamp. Casablanca also resulted in conclusions about designing household social communication devices.

Debby Hindus is currently an entrepreneur, following her work at Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto, CA, from its founding in1992 until its closing in 2000. Recently, she has been the business analyst and industry strategist for a network infrastructure startup and a wireless home networking venture. For Interval, Ms. Hindus formulated and produced Broadband University, a 15-session curriculum featuring industry pioneers and experts. In 1999, she taught a new Stanford course on The Design of Domestic and Consumer Technologies. Ms. Hindus has conducted several studies of novel communications technology for workplaces and homes, including primary consumer research.

In earlier work, Ms. Hindus addressed a new kind of computer-mediated communication, the audio space, and the design of user interactions within an audio space. While in the Media Lab's Speech Research group, her work focused on innovative speech applications for interacting with computers. She holds one U.S. patent on audio conferencing and has five patents pending. Ms. Hindus holds an MS degree from the MIT Media Lab and a BSCS degree from the University of Michigan.

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