Recent studies have shown that knowledge workers are increasingly using multiple devices, such as notebooks, tablets and smartphones to interact with different types of information that are part of their daily activities.Using multiple devices introduces a configuration overhead as users have to manually reconfigure all devices according to ongoing activities. Especially in an environment such as an office, where the use of multiple devices is more common, the process of configuring them in context of ongoing activities is cumbersome. To mitigate these problems, we introduce ActivitySpace: an activity-centric configuration space that enables the user to integrate and work across several devices by utilizing the space between the devices.


ActivitySpace is an implementation of the configuration space concept. It is a distributed activity-centric information management system that allows users to create, manage and distribute applications, resources and services across several devices. ActivitySpace uses an interactive surface (e.g.,\ a desk or meeting table) as a configuration space that allows users to interconnect and move information between devices on top of it. The system consists of three parts: (i) a configuration space application that mediates the linkage to other clients; (ii) a number of platform specific clients for laptop, tablet, and phone devices; and (iii) a distributed activity-centric infrastructure that is used both for distribution of activities and resources, as well for discovery and pairing of devices. The configuration space is activated by placing the master device in the space. All other devices that are added to the space become part of the same activity space. The space visualizes the resource attached to each device. Resources can be moved between devices or stored in the space. Devices can be pinned to the space, to maintain the distributed configuration while allowing for device mobility.

Video and Pictures



asits C.8
  • ActivitySpace: Managing Device Ecologies in an Activity-Centric Configuration Space
  • S. Houben, P. TellJ.E. Bardram
  • In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS’14), ACM, 10 pages (Best Paper Honorable Mention Award)
  • [~29% acceptance; 112 submissions]
desk WIP.2
  • ActivityDesk: Multi-Device Configuration Work using an Interactive Desk
  • S. Houben and J.E. Bardram
  • In CHI ’13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’13). ACM, 6 pages. (bibtex)
  • [~32% acceptance; 1963 submissions]