Friday, February 22, 2008

Tangible and Embedded Interaction

FAL-member Ylva Fernaeus went to present a theoretical full paper at the TEI'08 conference in Bonn, and also got selected to participate in the closing panel. The topics to be discussed in the panel were the "where, when, why and what of tangible interfaces", which resulted in quite some interesting (and amusing!) discussions. Below is a picture from the panel:

A general theme at the conference seemed to be how tangibles are moving from research prototypes with focus on "the interface", towards real applications and products, and how these are actually taken into use.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ubiquitous Content in Tokyo

Keio University recently organized a symposium to spread information about the Ubiquitous Content project and the XTEL platform, a hardware/software solution for rapid prototyping of physical interaction. FAL leader Lars Erik Holmquist was guest speaker at the symposium, along with robot researcher Yoshiyuki Sankai, who is a pioneer in the field of Cybernics and developer of a human robot suit.

Lars Erik also attended an exhibition with student project created using the XTEL platform, as well as other interesting examples of hardware/software interaction. It was fun to meet the talented Keio students and researchers and see some of their work! We hope to be using the XTEL platform in the Mobile Life Center and look forward to more collaboration with Keio, in particular the new Media Design Graduate School.

Here we see Ishizawa Takaaki, one of the XTEL system designers, proudly displaying boxes of the hardware board, along with students showing installations built using the platform. This included a soft toy to control an on-line avatar; a system for sharing images between friends and family; and finally Michihiko Ueno's shape-changing textiles.

Not everything was built using XTEL - there were many other interesting projects from Inakage Lab, Okude Lab. and Wakita Lab. Below we see Midori Shibutani with the Fabcell project, a color-changing dress based on thermo-chromatic textiles, and Yu Uchida with the interactive shadow installation Kage no Sekai.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Glowbots at home

We are currently conducting a long term user study of the GlowBots in a home environment.

The GlowBots are just starting to settle in the friendly family who has been taking care of them for the last month. The robots seemed a little shy in the beginning but now they have started to display a lot of unexpected talents:

An important observation is that since the robots don't seem to like daylight the children tend to switch off the light as soon as it is time to play - which of course means that their father has to do the cooking in the dark! Technology that really make a difference...