Laboratory for New Media 3rd Exhibition “Dr. Strange Device”

The permanent exhibition “Laboratory for New Media” introduces, and periodically upgrades, cutting-edge science and technology and the possibility of expressions using captivating innovations as exhibits. This 3rd segment will introduce physical senses such as walking, moving, kinesthetic senses, and tactile senses in addition to visual senses. The artwork exhibited questions the existence and cognition of humans. These works that look a bit like the “creation of the strange” are ambitious challenges that will open up new, expressive frontiers with cutting-edge technology.

Robot Tile(2004)

Walking through a virtual space
The Robot Tiles are a device for walking and moving though a virtual space. They provide a floor just for the feet of the walker, and since they slide in the opposite direction of the feet one can walk endlessly without moving from the same spot. When we “walk” through virtual spaces in computer RPGs or “Second Life” we use a mouse or game control stick. There is no real sense of walking just by using our fingers, but these tiles certainly provide the sensation in full.

Floating Eye(2001)

Eye floats in space
The “floating eye” provides an out-of-the-ordinary experience in which your eye leaves your body and floats in space. When your head enters the spherical display, your field of view switches to the airship above and leaves you looking down upon yourself. By maneuvering the airship with the cord attached to it, and walking around with the dome screen, you ought to be able to get the feeling of the faint airflow above your head. This mysterious sensation will probably give you a new awareness about the existence of your own body.

Media Vehicle(2009)

Running through a virtual space
The Media Vehicle is a mode of transport for moving freely around the real and virtual worlds. Take a ride on it and you can experience being moved around like a puppet by someone else. The evolution of cars is moving in the direction of informatization with data from cameras and sensors being used in safe driving activities etc. In the virtual world too, machines that give a virtual experience are starting to appear as well. If the sense of movement in the virtual world can be made to feel even more realistic, eventually the technologies from the two worlds will probably merge.

Haptic Unit(2009)

Touching images
The Haptic Unit is a device for experiencing the basic movement of manually mimicking and presenting the hardness and weight of virtual objects. When you place a finger in the protruding part the resistance from the fluid and the elasticity of the object can be felt in conjunction with images projected on the monitor in the lower part. The images can be touched and the sensation felt. This is a piece that expresses the departure point for this field of research.


Stroking a prehistoric creature
Anomalocaris was supposed to have become extinct during the Cambrian period....but here you can now stroke it with the palm of your hand. It was “FEELEX” that made this possible. The manipulating devices are placed under the screen like dumbbells, and by individually controlling upward and downward movements and undulating quality and hardness is given to the images of the virtual object. It really is a virtual reality that surpasses time and space. But if you fiddle with it too much it becomes cross and disappears, so be careful.

Gyro Master(2005)

Guided by an invisible force
Though the device is floating in midair, it feels as though your hand is being caught by something. That's the sort of strange power produced by the Gyro Master. Whilst there are many different ways to impart virtual sensations, when it comes to carrying the device different principles of movement are needed. One of these is using gyro-moment. The aims of the device are that it can be carried or fitted to people and used to guide or instruct them in their movements.

Technical Cooperation: Hiroaki Yano (Associate Professor, Intelligent Interaction Technologies, University of Tsukuba)
Cooperation: Vertual Reality Lab. University of Tsukuba - Shinhichi Tanahashi(Floating Eye) / Yuta Manaka, Shingo Tateyama(Robot Tile) / Nobuhiko Negishi(Haptic Unit) / Ryota Sato(Jyro Master) / Yohei Kobayashi, Tomoaki Inaba, Akihiro Deguchi(Media Vehicle)

Term January 21 (Wed.), 2009 – May 11 (Mon.), 2009
Exhibitor Hiroo IWATA
Professor, Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Tsukuba
Hiroo Iwata is a professor in the Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering of the University of Tsukuba, where he is teaching human interface and leading research projects on virtual reality. His research interests include haptic interface, locomotion interface and spatially immersive display. He received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degree in engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1981, 1983 and 1986, respectively.
He exhibited his work at the Emerging Technologies venue of the SIGGRAPH for 14 years since 1994. As well as Ars Electronica Festival 96,97,99, and 2001. He won honorary mentions in Prix Ars Electronica 96 and 2001.
Virtual Reality Laboratory, University of Tsukuba