Revisiting collaboration through mixed reality: The evolution of groupware

Barrett Ens, Joel Lanir, Anthony Tang, Scott Bateman, Gun Lee, Thammathip Piumsomboon, Mark Billinghurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Collaborative Mixed Reality (MR) systems are at a critical point in time as they are soon to become more commonplace. However, MR technology has only recently matured to the point where researchers can focus deeply on the nuances of supporting collaboration, rather than needing to focus on creating the enabling technology. In parallel, but largely independently, the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) has focused on the fundamental concerns that underlie human communication and collaboration over the past 30-plus years. Since MR research is now on the brink of moving into the real world, we reflect on three decades of collaborative MR research and try to reconcile it with existing theory from CSCW, to help position MR researchers to pursue fruitful directions for their work. To do this, we review the history of collaborative MR systems, investigating how the common taxonomies and frameworks in CSCW and MR research can be applied to existing work on collaborative MR systems, exploring where they have fallen behind, and look for new ways to describe current trends. Through identifying emergent trends, we suggest future directions for MR, and also find where CSCW researchers can explore new theory that more fully represents the future of working, playing and being with others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-98
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Augmented reality
  • Collaborative mixed reality
  • Collaborative technology
  • Computer supported cooperative work
  • Mixed reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education
  • General Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


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