Photoportals: Shared References in Space and Time

Photoportals provide ad-hoc references to locations and objects in virtual environments and serve as additional interaction territories for collaborative interaction


Photoportals build on digital photography as a unifying metaphor for reference-based interaction in 3D virtual environments. Virtual photos and videos serve as threedimensional references to objects, places, moments in time and activities of users. Our Photoportals also provide access to intermediate or alternative versions of a scenario and allow the review of recorded task sequences that include life-size representations of the captured users.

We propose to exploit such references to structure collaborative activities of collocated and remote users. Photoportals offer additional access points for multiple users and encourage mutual support through the preparation and provision of references for manipulation and navigation tasks. They support the pattern of territoriality with configurable space representations that can be used for private interaction, as well as be shared and exchanged with others.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the EC FP7 projects 3D-PITOTI (ICT-2011-600545) and VR-HYPERSPACE (AAT-2011-RTD-1-285681 ). Our work was also supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under grant 03IP704 (project Intelligentes Lernen). The 3D model of Castle Vianden (Luxembourg) that can be seen in Figures 4-8 of the paper as well as the video figure is courtesy of ArcTron 3D GmbH (


André Kunert, Alexander Kulik, Stephan Beck, and Bernd Froehlich. 2014.
Photoportals: shared references in space and time.
In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing (CSCW '14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 1388-1399.

[paper] [video (54MB)(325MB) (Vimeo)]