In recent years we have seen a huge growth of interest in tabletop research and technologies. Apart from the increasing research into underlying hardware technologies and interaction mechanisms, there has also been a significant interest in the dynamics of collaboration that happens “on” and “around” interactive tabletop surfaces. Most of this work has focussed on collocated interaction, exploring issues such as equity of participation, territoriality, orientation and coordination. This body of work has highlighted several important aspects of tabletop settings, particularly in terms of impact on the dynamics of collaboration. Much less attention, though, has been given to collaborative work practices happening around interactive horizontal surfaces in the presence of other media, technologies and artefacts, and especially in the context of remote collaboration. This chapter presents research and findings of interactive tabletop settings in environments that include various other artefacts and devices. We label these settings with the term “assemblies” to describe and emphasises the real-world character of settings that draws on the concepts of Ubiquitous Computing and Media Space, as well as everyday objects such as pen and paper. We conclude this chapter by highlighting important aspects of distributed assemblies with respect to the boundaries of interactivity and the orientation of these environments.
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