Desk Area Network (DAN)


A system to enable the control of interconnections among A/V Components in a room. Consists of a computer controlled A/V switch and software. The software has four layers, each for a different kind of use and user. For the normal(novice) user, there is a list of presets that can be selected. Next, there is a "console" that lets the user make individual connections. For the more expert user, there is an interface that permits the definition and editing of presets. Finally, for the administrator, there is an interface for specifying the configuration of the components with respect to the switch.

A key part of the system is that it has some built-in intelligence. The software can be made aware of the status of the components (such as a VCR)that are connected to the switch. Thus, if one inserts a videotape into a VCR and hits the "Play" button, the system will automatically connect the VCR to a monitor. Likewise, in the middle of a video conference, if one hits the "play" button, it will reconfigure the system so that the tape is visible to both sides of the conference. On the other hand, if one hits "record," then both sides of the meeting will automatically be recorded. All of this removes a level of complexity from the end user.


A very experimental version has been implemented in SUPERCARD on a MAC. It controls VCRs through D-Boxes, an A/V cross bar switch, and a picture-in-picture (PIP) unit.


This is a fairly unique concept, and in its general form, will be a significant commercial opportunity.


This is a very shaky experimental implementation. We are studying the concepts, and user interfaces. The current user interface needs work, and the software was assembled quickly but not efficiently. It is not robust nor portable.


We may elect to build a second generation DAN using a simple version of TAS/ that will, when combined with the network concepts described later, yield the general solution. In the meantime, different types of user interfaces are being studied by our UI researchers.