Communication & Interaction Lab

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Communication Interaction Lab Quick Links

Facilitate Pro

Citrix Servers

Currently Scheduled Events click here To schedule an event, please send e-mail to

Communication and Interaction Lab

The Communication & Interaction Laboratory supports research and professional activity leading to improved understanding of interaction in communication, information, and media processes. The laboratory is a venue for the examination and exploration of the practical problems and theoretical puzzles that arise as communication, information, and media evolve in society.

The CILab is a multifunctional, collaborative workspace designed to support research and outreach by SC&I faculty. The lab supports both funded and unfunded research. An important function of the lab is to serve as an incubator for developing research projects and interdisciplinary research at SC&I, across Rutgers University, and within international constituencies interested in communication, information, and media research.

The CILab is particularly well suited for research on the augmentation of human reasoning and interaction in contexts and processes such as collaboration and conflict, professional practice, knowledge management, decision-making and sense-making support, designing and managing complex systems, usability, and social influence.

All facilities in the CILab are completely handicap accessible.



A "Aristotle"

The Aristotle room is 954 square feet. There is a work area with 20 workstations, 1 facilitator station, 2 50-inch plasma screens with white board overlays, and high definition video-conferencing/recording cameras. This room has an informal breakout meeting area with couches, chairs, and tables near a large floor to ceiling window overlooking Alexander Library commons. The main entrance is located on the west end of the CI building. Room 222.

B "Boethius"

The Boethius room is 144 square feet. There is one dedicated laptop workstation, one 42" plasma screen with white board overlay, and high definition video-conferencing/recording camera. There are two entrances to Boethius room. One adjoining the Aristotle room and the other ajoining the Student Lounge.

C "Cicero"

The Cicero room is 129 square feet. There is one dedicated laptop workstation, one 42" plasma screen with white board overlay, and high definition video-conferencing/recording camera. The Cicero room has a floor to ceiling window overlooking the Alexander Library commons. There are two entrances to Cicero room. One adjoining the Aristotle room and the other adjoining the Student Lounge.



The Communication & Interaction Lab utilizes the RUWireless backbone for all wireless connections. Wireless connections are supported at 802.11b and 802.11g data rates. The wireless network has an installed quality of service bandwidth throttling algorithm to provide fair bandwidth sharing among all users. RUWireless is available to all users via their NETID and password. CIL guests can apply for guest access to the RUWireless network through the SC&I Information Technology Services (SC&I ITS) staff.


The Rutgers University Network is comprised of a multi-tiered system of redundant connections to enable a robust and self healing network. The backbone is a synchronous optical network with a bandwidth of 2.4 GB/s handoff to the Internet. The external handoff is through multiple commerical providers including Sprint, Verizon, Internet2, MAGPI as well as direct connects to other regional institutions. The internal bandwidth for all desktop systems is 100 MB/s.



The facility includes 20 Dell Optiplex 930 computers running Windows 7. These systems are equipped with 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB hard drives.


The CIL facilities are equipped with two 50 inch and two 42 inch high definition plasma screens. These plasma displays can be used to transmit video and data from a dedicated notebook PC.

Smart Boards

Each high definition plasma display in the CIL has a SmartBoard overlay installed. These SmartBoards enable interactive whiteboard functionality. These SmartBoards can be manipulated to control applications or write in digital ink. The interactive whiteboards utilize precision touch screen technology to ensure that image quality is preserved. The digital ink can be recorded and stored. More information about SmartBoards can be found at Smart Tech. SC&I Information Technology Services (ITS) has designed a short tutorial on how to use our SmartBoards. See the documentation by clicking here. If you have trouble orienting the SmartBoards, you can view the troubleshooting document by clicking here


Two dedicated Dell Latitude Notebook PC's are assigned to the CIL for investigator use in the lab. These notebooks have the requisite software for the control of all plasma screens, Smartboards and videoconferencing units.

Video Cameras

Each room in the CIL is equipped with high definition video cameras that are connected to a Polycom HDX9002L video conferencing system. These high definition units also record camera images to a streaming RS2000 server for archiving and presentation. The entire setup can be used to conference with other facilities around the world, as well as record interviews or other events for web or archiving purposes. The equipment can also be used to record and display interactions between individuals, groups and computer-human studies. More information on these units at Polycom

Video Conferencing

High Definition video conferencing capabilities are installed in all three of these facilities. The Polycom HD9002L units are installed to facilitate lectures, special studies and small group use. Each system is connected to an RS2000 streaming server for archiving and playback of special events and conferences.


The Communication & interaction laboratory is secured via security access system. Only authorized individuals are allowed access to the facility itself. Electronic access readers can be programmed to allow users access at specific times and days. Access can also be restricted to part or all of the facility. The SunRay thin clients use password authentication to allow access to applications based on access control lists. The videoconferencing units are password protected and all data is encrypted before leaving the facility.



Three primary groupware applications are installed on the servers that serve the CIL. These groupware products enable collaboration and group decision making and analysis.


Facilitate Pro is a software package that enables brainstorming, collaboration and the study of group decision making. There are 5 floors and unlimited licenses available on the CIL version of this package. More information can be found at the Facilitate Pro web site.


Group Systems is a group intelligence, strategic planning and collaboration tool available at the CIL. There are currently licenses for 5 simultaneous users. Consequently use is encouraged for smaller groups. More information about Groups Systems can be found by clicking here


Compendium is a concept mapping software tool. It consists of a visual interface that maps ideas and connections. For more information see the Compendium web site.

Internet Application


The Dell Optiplex systems are connected to a farm of remote applications served by the Citrix terminal services environment. These terminal services enable users to access Microsoft Windows compatible applications. Access to any of the applications can be restricted based on available licenses for specific users or groups. Users can have access to software that they may not have on their own systems due to licensing costs. More information on Citrix can be found by clicking here.

Research Support Software

Software made available via Citrix terminal services includes Atlas, Compendium, Nvivo, SPSS, Adobe Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and other development and productivity tools.

Productivity Suites

Microsoft Office and several open source productivity suites are available on the thin client desktops and through Citrix.

Usability Analysis

Two dedicated notebook PC's are pre-installed with Morae software. This application enables the study of human - computer interaction and usability studies. More information about Morae can be found by clicking here


All data from research and facility use are stored on two RAID 5, storage vaults. These vaults can be encrypted to protect investigative research. These systems are backed up daily and data can also be written to DVD if needed.



Access to the facility and all systems is controlled by physical and software security systems including electronic access systems, password authentication and encryption mechanisms. Please see the IT staff for more information.


All data is backed up and archived daily. The backups are encrypted and stored securely in a controlled climate environment and is collected to protect against emergencies and facility disruption.

Use Policy

Room reservations will be accepted from full-time faculty, doctoral students, and part-time faculty, for the following uses:

Research in Action

Research in action includes activities such as faculty conducting studies involving human subjects or using the specialized equipment in the facility. It does not include the types of activities that can be done by individuals in their own offices.

External Meetings

Events and meetings with outside constituents. These events must be related to research activities, funding opportunities, career development, and other school needs.

Research Training

Research training includes training on the specialized technology in the facility. The lab, however, is not a classroom as those facilities are provided elsewhere in SC&I.

Other Considerations

Meetings of SCILS faculty, students, and staff who are on research or project teams are encouraged to use the Dean’s Conference Room, Faculty Lounge, or Huntington House Conference Room for their meetings, but may use the Communication & Interaction Lab on a space-available basis if other options are not available.

No classes may reserve any part of the Interaction Lab except for occasional demonstrations or training that cannot be conducted in the two other labs in the SCILS building or with the portable laptop suite. No classes may reserve the Communication & Interaction Laboratory as a regular classroom.

Rules for Use


Access to lab will be provided for the reserved time period only. When making a reservation request include a reasonable but not excessive time for preparation and completion of your planned activity.


Room, hardware, and software configurations must be requested from the IT staff at time of reservation. Requests can only be accommodated with adequate lead time for IT staff.

Concurrent Use

The Interaction Lab may be divided into three separate areas for independent use. If more than one concurrent use is requested, the users of the lab must consult with each other to ensure non-interfering uses. Individuals who are using only one part of the Interaction Lab should not impede the use of the other rooms by others in any way.

Continuous Use

Individuals who have reserved space in one or more rooms for multiple sessions cannot leave materials in the Lab between sessions.

Fees for Use

If there are events held in the Communication & Interaction Lab which include paid attendance by participants (e.g., a training workshop or demonstration that people pay to attend), then a fee for use of the space will be negotiated with the event sponsor.

No Permanent Assignments

No individual will be assigned a desk in the Interaction Lab as a general work space.

Software & Hardware Installation

No software and hardware can be installed without consultation with IT staff. Please refer to general SCILS computing facility guidelines.


Doors for entering and exiting the lab must not be propped open.

Food & Beverages

No food or drink in the equipment areas.


Overall Approach to Scheduling

Reservations will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis. As access to the room will be provided only for the time reserved, plan a reasonable but not excessive amount of time for set-up and take-down.

In the case of scheduling conflicts the following priorities will be used to determine final reservation schedule.

Research in action will receive top priority for space. External meetings will receive secondary priority. Research training will be the third level of priority.

In all cases where scheduling conflicts occur, it is expected that the users work it out between themselves. Whoever reserved the room first, has the first claim to have their planned use of the room. Since the room can be divided up for independent uses opportunities to effectively share the space will be sought as a means to resolve scheduling conflicts.

Steps to Scheduling the Lab

You can view the current listing of events already scheduled by clicking here

Reservations can be made by sending an e-mail message to: Please provide the name of the event, sponsor, date, time and facility/equipment requested.

Use Cases

Video-Conferencing/Virtual Meetings

Conduct video-conferencing meetings from the lab. Available equipment enables multi-participant meetings with pan and tracking views of participants. In addition, the lab is outfitted with groupware that supports brainstorming, categorizing, voting, and concept-mapping to support virtual meetings.

Micro-Interaction Analysis

Conduct micro-level observations of movement, gesture, and sound in human-human dyadic and small group interaction. Available equipment enables pan/tilt/zoom HD cameras to overall movements and sounds of participants as well as micro-facial movements. Recording equipment will enable the mulitplexing of views from up to 4 cameras on 1 screen for real time observational and post observation analysis and presentation.

Dyad-Small Group Analysis

Conduct observations of human-human discussion and language use in human-human dyadic and small group interaction. Available equipment enables pan/tilt/zoom HD cameras to overall movements and sounds of participants as well as micro-facial movements. Recording equipment will enable the mulitplexing of views from up to 4 cameras on 1 screen for real time observational and post observation analysis and presentation.

Focus Groups

Conduct meeting sessions for small or large groups aimed to capture their opinions and beliefs about some subject matter. In addition to the audio/video capture described above, the lab is outfitted with groupware that supports brainstorming, categorizing, voting, and concept-mapping.

Human-Computer-Interaction Analysis

Conduct observations of human uses of and interactions with computers and computer interfaces. Available equipment enables pan view cameras to capture overall movements and sounds of participants and tracking views of participants and eye-level cameras to capture facial reactions from the perspective of the computer screen.

Research Team Coding/Training

Conduct specific research team collaborative observation/analysis and training using work stations to view recorded observations of interactions and the use of coding and analysis software.

Getting started

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