For decades conventional search engines such as Google, Duck Duck Go and Bing have provided answers to questions their users have had. Traditional style of call and response for finding information has served its purpose over the years, but is it the most effective way to find what we are looking for? One issue with modern day search engines is the terminology being used. A search implies that a user is embarking on a mission to find an object or idea that they are unaware they are looking for. Imagine searching a house for a belonging that nobody has any guarantee they can find. Occasionally, someone may get lucky, and these objects may pop up while cleaning, or assisting a young one finds one of their treasured belongings, which makes for a remarkable discovery, but these events do not occur regularly. This is the equivalent of a modern google search which users conduct 5.6 billion times a day, or 3-4 times a day per user. Sometimes a user may find what they are looking for, but at what cost? In addition to the language issue, we also run into the idea of thumbing through page after page of results. For many users if the answer is not found on the first page, then they are quick to alter their query, or abandon the search altogether. This situation is less than ideal for anyone who is trying to solve a problem they are facing, let alone trying to solve a complex issue requiring a substantial amount of time research. These issues are what the Analogy room was designed to address. The analogy room is not actually a room in any traditional sense. With the deeper integration of modern technology into our lives new solutions must be designed to adapt to the rapid advancement of computational devices. The analogy room is a concept which allows for the advancement of traditional search engines. In this project, we want to explore alternative paradigms with analogical inspirations.
The Analogy room is currently a setup of 6 monitors displaying information across different websites. These monitors are preloaded with websites which display information relevant to the problem a user is attempting to solve. The configuration of the monitors is not fixed in any precise manner, but rather they are placed at varying distances to allow for a user to engage with content at differing visual depths. In addition to varying distances the room can be set up at any location users desire to conduct their brainstorming. From there a user/users will be able brainstorm while a program running in the background changes the information on the screen. At any point in time a user will be able to interact with external links or pause a screen using a motion detecting interface, such as an Arduino microcontroller, or a pi board (still in progress). These interactions are all aimed at enhancing inspirational recall in the hopes of providing an analogical solution to the problem users are trying to solve. The changing distances of the screen are to provide eye movement across a wide landscape and at various distances to enhance the likelihood of accessing a user’s more distant memory. In providing physical gestures and movement around the room it will not only help with providing diverse visual input, but it will also increase physical activities which some studies have shown to enhance memory. Another aspect of interaction aimed at increasing the likelihood of Analogical transfer is setting the screens up in a location of the users choosing. No longer will users be confined to a conference room when brainstorming. No longer will they be limited by the brains that are in the physical room at any given point in time. Given that at times our best solutions come to us when we rarely expect it. Conducting brainstorming this way affords all people in a localized area to interact with the brainstorming session. If a user’s team is stuck on a problem, an outside perspective may be just what the team needs to solve a problem they have been working on for months. A bonus of this way of researching information is that it is not only scalable, but also adaptable. This concept can be easily adapted for XR purposes. It can be done at a micro level and a macro level. Given that it relies on the internet, this concept can be adapted to engage users across the full range of the world wide web. Especially in a Virtual setting the ideas incorporated into this concept would be easily achieved and implemented as an alternative paradigm for finding solutions. It can work for any problem no matter how big or small and requires little effort on a user's part to conduct the search.