A key feature of electronic culture since the days of text-based bulletin boards, community design has only gained in importance as new media have developed, particularly with the surge in recent years of so-called Web 2.0 applications. UMaine’s ASAP program has produced a variety of innovative interfaces that serve local communities, notably the River Valley Connection Web site and calendaring system. Still Water, meanwhile, has been an innovator in new trust metrics, information filtering schemes, and remote scripting techniques (such as iFrame and AJaX-based data access). Community interfaces developed by Still Water have included online collaboration environments such as The Pool, creative outlets such as Community Comix, and social network systems such as Divvy.
The New Media Department introduces students to physical computing early in their course of study in the interactive design sequence (x02). Students explore multichannel audio and video installations based on sensor data and other environmental inputs. Researchers use off-the-shelf programming interfaces such as Max/MSP and Jitter but also collaborate on custom software with organizations such as IRCAM-Paris.