Huggy Pajama paper awarded “Honorable Mention” at CHI 2012 Conference

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Huggy Pajama paper awarded “Honorable Mention” at CHI 2012 Conference.

Paper title: Keep in Touch: Channel, Expectation and Experience – Paper

Rongrong Wang – Virginia Tech, USA

Francis Quek – Center for Human Computer Interaction, Virginia Tech, USA

Deborah Tatar – Center for Human Computer Interaction, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, United States, USA

Keng Soon Teh – National University of Singapore, Singapore

Adrian David Cheok – Keio University Graduate School of Media Design, Japan

Contribution & Benefit: Describes a remote touch study, showing communicative touch accompanied by speech can significantly influence people’s sense of connectedness. Identifies perception of communication intention as an important factor in touch communication design.

CHI 2012 – Program

Sound Perfume

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Face-to-face communication remains the most powerful human interaction. In this day and age, people have become dependent on electronic devices to communicate with others leading to many interpersonal difficulties and miscommunications in today’s society. We believe that face-to-face communication remains the most powerful human interaction and these devices can never fully replace the intimacy and immediacy of people conversing in the same room. If society loses its physical aspect, many of the subtle benefits that go along with physical face-to-face contact will also be lost.

Much of communication is done non-verbally and emotions can easily be transferred from person to person without the utterance of a single word. Sound Perfume is our attempt to encourage face-to-face communication by making it more emotional and memorable. We do this by augmenting a person’s experience through additional auditory and olfactory stimuli during social encounters. We designed wearable actuators that provide each user the ability to handcraft their sound and scent identity.

This identity is then transferred to another system when two people meet, using a unique technique known as eye contact interaction, stimulating each person with their partners sound and smell preference. We have developed a working prototype designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses that help us demonstrate the interaction techniques and actuations. We also present an advanced design that is minimalistic in its use of components.

Light Perfume

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Mirroring is the behavior in which one person copies another person usually while in social interaction with them and is one of the most powerful ways to build rapport quickly. When meeting someone for the first time, mirroring their seating position, posture, body angle, gestures, expressions and tone of voice are some useful examples of doing this. Before long, your partner will start to feel that there’s something about you they like and they may even describe you as ‘easy to interact with’. This is because they see themselves reflected in you.

Lighting and scents have shown to have an important role in reinforcing special perception, activity and mood setting, emotion, judgments, and even social relationship. Light Perfume was designed to help people mirror each other using visual and olfactory outputs to strengthen a user’s psychological bond with the partner. We do this by synchronizing the speed and blinking color of LEDs and emit the same perfume scent from each person’s device during a face-to-face conversation. The outputs are chosen based on inputs from the user’s environment such as noise levels and expressive body gestures.

Light Perfume was designed in a bangle in order to directly stimulate a user’s eyes and unobtrusively stimulate a user’s nose from the wrist. It also is a perfect location for sensors that detect acceleration of the arms and sound from the surrounding area. The aroma is created by heating solid perfume and emitted by the movement of the wearer’s conscious and subconscious body gestures during a conversation.

Foodie: Play with Your Food Promote Interaction and Fun with Edible Interface. Full Journal Paper in IEEE Transactions of Consumer Electronics

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Congratulations to Ph.D student Wei Jun (@weijun924) for having a full paper accepted in the journal IEEE Transactions of Consumer Electronics! The abstract of our paper is below.

Abstract — This paper presents Foodie, a novel interactive system that promotes interactive entertainment using the real edible food, connecting digital playfulness with active participation in the food creation and eating experience. Through this system, people can not only create novel food media and share with remote family members or friends, but also serve them with the physical food. This system adds another natural and organic dimension – edible food with smell and taste, to enhance the lifelike feeling and enrich the play experience. We believe the actual manipulation of real food through digital drawings would increase the engagement and enjoyment even for remote people, extending the digital playfulness of food games with real life experience. Besides social entertainment, this intuitive interface also provides an attractive channel for kids to try out and learn about realistic cooking, in a safe, creative and playful way

Mobile implementation and user evaluation of the Huggy Pajama system

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Mobile implementation and user evaluation of the Huggy Pajama system

Tasting with Sounds

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It’s now an accepted fact that our sense of taste is intrinsically linked to our sense of smell. But scientists now think that it can be heavily influenced by what we hear, too. Time to reach for Sounds of Skillet Bacon Vol. 2. The Smithsonian reports a new study published in the journal Food Quality and Science which investigated the relationships between music and taste. In a blinded experiment, 20 tasters reported that high-pitched music made toffees taste sweeter compared to low music—even though they were exactly the same candies. Elsewhere, a series of experiments carried out at the University of Oxford asked volunteers to match wines, milk and other foods with particular musical notes. They found that that sweet-tasting desserts tend to be matched up with high notes, while deeply savory dishes tend to be paired with brassy, low-pitched sounds. Charles Spence—an expert on multi-sensory experiences—has found that it’s even possible to sway our experiences of taste. Speaking to The Smithsonian, he explained: “We’ve shown that if you take something with competing flavors, something like bacon-and-egg ice cream, we were able to change people’s perception of the dominant flavor-is it bacon, or egg?-simply by playing sizzling bacon sounds or farmyard chicken noises.” So, what’s happening? Are we primed by advertising? Is it something to do with the way parents offer up food? Actually, it’s unclear to all these researchers why the effect exists. Which probably means you shouldn’t worry about it too much—just stick on your favorite falsetto-laden track and shovel candies down your throat. They’ll taste all the sweeter for it. [The Smithsonian]

Cool Japanese Research: Interactive Kissing Display

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I am glad to be part of a university that develops crazy ideas. In the latest crazy research here is a screen which is used for interactive kissing.

By sensing the distance between the user and the display, this photo of a person reacts when kissed. This system is currently under development by a research group at Keio University and they are also considering how to utilize this system in a commercial context.

“I’m a big fan of pop idols, and I have posters of them in my room. It bugged me that the posters didn’t move at all. We built this system because we thought, if a poster could move to match people’s movements, that would be interactive and fun.”

“This system is very simple. There’s an ultrasound sensor here, to detect how far away your head is. As you approach the sensor, the picture changes. When you get closer, the picture becomes a kissing face, and when you move away, it becomes a blushing face.”

“The current system only produces visual changes, but we could also include the scent of shampoo from the person’s hair, or a lemon-flavored film on the lips, or a speaker that whispers “I love you.” People who’ve tried this system advised us to do those things, so we think there’s still plenty to be done. We’ve learned a lot from talking to users.”

From now on, the researchers plan to develop an iPad application. For this, they’re considering other sensing methods, such as using image recognition via the camera, or using a light sensor that reacts to the shadows created when the user approaches.

“We think we could get pop idols to actually pose for this, and sell it as an application, or it could be used in digital signage. I think people would be really attracted by a face that gives a kiss as they walk past.”

(via Interactive Poster That Loves Being Kissed – DigInfo TV – Tech News Videos From Japan | The latest technology, products, gadgets and scientific research direct from Tokyo)

Test_Lab: Smell This! Witness the decomposition of Chanel No. 5, sniff out a partner, taste with your nostrils, and more treats for the nose.

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Test_Lab: Smell This! Witness the decomposition of Chanel No. 5, sniff out a partner, taste with your nostrils, and more treats for the nose.

Electric stimulus to face

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Another wonderful and weird work from Japanese media artist Daito Manabe. By using electrodes one can moves one’s face and control another person’s face. I really like the use of haptics for affective communication. This is a comment on how we can often wish we can influence other people’s mood and therefore bodies directly.

particles at YCAM

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Daito Manabe + Motoi Ishibashi

One of our KMD students, Kensuke Fujishiro, worked on this project. It is a beautiful work which I think is a wonderful analogy of the importance of physicality and being analog even in our modern computer world. It combines the light inside a physical ball with a track and all connected and controlled wirelessly by a computer. Somehow the physicality and analog nature is so much more beautiful than seeing a particle cloud on a computer screen.


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vThis work was done by one of our Keio Media Design students when he was on an internship. It is a very cool example of food media. It is done for Glico a sweets maker in Japan. The system captures the face and then prints it in chocolate on a cookie. It is a great example of edible interface and food communication.

Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work : The New Yorker

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A few years ago, Isaac Kohane, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, published a study that looked at scientific research conducted by groups in an attempt to determine the effect that physical proximity had on the quality of the research. He analyzed more than thirty-five thousand peer-reviewed papers, mapping the precise location of co-authors. Then he assessed the quality of the research by counting the number of subsequent citations. The task, Kohane says, took a “small army of undergraduates” eighteen months to complete. Once the data was amassed, the correlation became clear: when coauthors were closer together, their papers tended to be of significantly higher quality. The best research was consistently produced when scientists were working within ten metres of each other; the least cited papers tended to emerge from collaborators who were a kilometre or more apart. “If you want people to work together effectively, these findings reinforce the need to create architectures that support frequent, physical, spontaneous interactions,” Kohane says. “Even in the era of big science, when researchers spend so much time on the Internet, it’s still so important to create intimate spaces.

Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work : The New Yorker

The more I work with the internet, and the more I do research in interactive media, the more I have realized, and seen studies, which show that interaction through internet has some basic limitation. It seems that even in today’s highly connected internet society, physical presence is critical. This study shows that for academic collaboration the best research occurs when the authors are highly physically present in the range of metres. It is my hypothesis (and this needs further academic research) that this is partly because we communicate through all of our senses (including touch, taste, and smell) and through non-logical emotions. These still cannot be communicated effectively through the internet.

Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work: The New Yorker

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Jones’s explanation is that scientific advances have led to a situation where all the remaining problems are incredibly hard. Researchers are forced to become increasingly specialized, because there’s only so much information one mind can handle. And they have to collaborate, because the most interesting mysteries lie at the intersections of disciplines. “A hundred years ago, the Wright brothers could build an airplane all by themselves,” Jones says. “Now Boeing needs hundreds of engineers just to design and produce the engines.” The larger lesson is that the increasing complexity of human knowledge, coupled with the escalating difficulty of those remaining questions, means that people must either work together or fail alone. But if brainstorming is useless, the question still remains: What’s the best template for group creativity?

Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work : The New Yorker

This very interesting article in the New Yorker succinctly summarizes why interdisciplinary fields are the most interesting in today’s society. This is because we have effectively solved most human and technology problems that are important in the industrial age of the 20th century. In the 21st century the remaining problems are very challenging, and are at the boundaries of disciplines. This is why areas such as media design are much more interesting that traditional disciplines. When I used to read some of the research output or attend some faculty talks in my Electrical and Computer Engineering department, I found most of it mind-numbingly boring. The kind of academic papers and research topics that were so incremental and of almost no interest or impact to general society. Now I find I am constantly challenged and amazed and presented with new ideas by both faculty and students who come from diverse areas such as design, business, management – and technology as myself. I still find hard core geeky hacking interesting for myself, but now I know the problems in society that all of society talks about are the most interesting and most important.

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