In 2001 I began work at Stanford as Director of Design at SCIL (Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning). SCIL was started by Roy Pea, Professor of Education and Learning Sciences and former colleague from my NYU days. Roy came up with a truly brilliant idea for a new kind of scientific instrument for analyzing behavior data for the social sciences. The idea was to build a special camera for recording panoramic (360 degree video) of a real-world space in which human interaction was occurring. Roy called it “FreeD.”
The DIVER project
Given the right software and user interface (my role), it would be possible for different social scientists to record different points-of-view of the same event. We obtained an important grant from the National Science Foundation to build this tool. Joe Rosen, who had worked with me at NSF, was the lead engineer. Ken Dauber, now a senior engineer at Google (who I now get to work with), also helped developed the core concepts and design. Finally, my old pal from Apple, Eric Hoffert, served as a consultant on the project. Eric urged us early on to not only think of DIVER as a behavioral science tool, but as a video repository for anyone. This was several years before Youtube.
Many wonderful concepts were embodied in this fascinating work. These can be found at the DIVER website (http://diver.stanford.edu/home.html). We have been granted a number of patents based on this ground-breaking work. Here’s an example of a “Path” movie.