Google Research

ThingShare: Ad-Hoc Digital Copies of Physical Objects for Sharing Things in Video Meetings

  • Erzhen Hu
  • Jens Emil Grønbæk
  • Wen Ying
  • Ruofei Du
  • Seongkook Heo
Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), ACM (to appear)


During a video meeting, people may share various physical objects with remote users, such as physical documents, design prototypes, and personal items. However, sharing physical objects in video meetings has several challenges, e.g., the difficulty of referencing a remote object, the limited size and clarity of the object, and the inefficiency of coordinating the position and distances of an object to the camera. We introduce ThingShare, a video-conferencing system designed to support sharing of physical objects during remote meetings. ThingShare allows users to easily create digital copies of physical objects in the video feeds, which can then be magnified on a separate panel for focused sharing, overlaid on the user’s video feed for sharing in context, and stored in the object drawer for reviews. Our user study showed that ThingShare made initiating object-centric discussions more efficient and provided a more stable and detailed viewing of the objects.

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