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The fifth symposium ‘Interaction2001‘ was held March 4 and 5 at Waseda University Tokyo. The symposium’s focus is the cooperation of the real organic world and “information technology”. ‘Interaction2001’ saw 300 participants, 12 papers and the interactive announcement (which included 58 demonstrations) over the course of both days. The curtain opened with the introductory lecture by media artist Kazuhiko Hachiya. Throughout the symposium a lot of research about the future of information technology was shown.

In addition to the usual oral presentations, interactive presentations involving the audience played a large role in the event. Symposium is sponsored by the Information Processing Soc. of Japan.

Following the opening by executive chairman Miwako Doi, “It is a historical moment in which twenty years have passed since the birth of the new GUI interface”, media artist Kazuhiko Hachiya continued with the introductory lecture. Entitled “small talk about the interface between art and technology”, Hachiya introduces his own works (such as “Inter-discommunication Machine” and “PostPet“) and began to introduce other Japanese media artists’ works (such as “Making interface my job”, “How to link human to human”, “Using withered technology for foolish things”, “Work in which computer technology doesn’t come out in front”, “The benefits of working with an engineer to raise quality” and the language of “detailed attention as a necessity to technological output”) all of which were impressive in content.

Then monographs with the theme of the “Real World” were presented during which there was a presentation of “Data Tiles” by Rekimoto, Oba in SonyCSL, another by Brygg Ullmer from MIT Media Lab, finishing with a presentation of the handwritten character system in the air by Sonoda et. al. of Waseda University. The system “Data Tiles” places a transparent tile on a tray (the level plane display) and controls computer and information. For example, when a tile of the weather chart on a blank map is printed and combined with a tile of the time base on and a circular groove is dug, a subsequent pen tracing the groove enables us to see a change in weather relative to the change in time. Those tiles have RFID tags made from a built-in radio device and because of this device, the tray can recognize where the tiles are and show the related images on the display. The software is constructed with JAVA so that it loads the related class files automatically by the user placing the tiles. Among the presentations in this symposium ‘Interaction 2001’, this ‘DataTiles’ was by far the best presentation for its technique and design. I really hope I could actually experience the piece with my own hands.

During the first interactive presentation after lunch the audience enjoyed another array of research in which new interfaces and interactions were displayed. A musical presentation performed by stuffed toys containing sensors by Yonezawa et al. of ATR, wearable musical instruments “CosTune” by Tada of ATR and Nishimoto of Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology et al., touch panel with click sensitivity “Active Click” by Fukumoto of NTTdocomo, “Tactile Display Mouse” by Sakamaki et al. of FujiXerox, Planisphere boards using accelerated sensors and geomagnetic sensors by Tava of Keio SFC, a Platform for Controlling Public Display with Mobile Phones by Oliver Liechti et al. of ATR, the development environment of the application by the Active Cube system containing various sensors by Ito et al.of Osaka Univ., an interactive communication system using a transparent sphere display “i-ball” by Ikeda et al. of Tokyo Univ., etc. From these interactive presentations the audience could gain some understanding of the researches engineer involved in this field.

The next set of presentations related to an information browser called “AssociaView” created by Abe et al. of NTT, an information visualization system “XML-VL” using a constraint of XML by Hosobe et al. of the National Institute of Informatics, and the graphic editing technique “Hypersnapping” using snapping by Masui of SonyCSL.

The awards ceremony and party was held that night. The above-mentioned “Data Tiles” and “Multimodal Translation System” (a system to add visual image to voice translations) by Ogata et al. of Sekei Univ. were commended as the best paper prizes, and “Active Click” and “Tactile Display Mouse” were commended as the 1st day’s best interactive prizes.

On the the second day the morning presentations, entitled “A light morning interface” consisted of “ActiveHeart System: A proposal and implementation of a graphic and haptic simulation of heart beats” by Nakao et al. of Kyoto Univ., “Flat3D: Drawing a 3d Scene with Freehand Sketching” by Tobita et al. of SonCSL and the research of the modeling of a string-like object by Sudo et al. of Kyoto Univ.

The interactive sessions on Day 2 were conducted with a short break. The audience was treated with presentations of various research regarding Head-Mounted Wireless peripheral device by Matsushita Of Toshiba, Interactive Electric Whiteboards by Bandou et al. of Tokyo Univ. of Agriculture and Technology, a support system for learning music on a sensory board in conjunction with a projector using RFID tags by Kasunoki et al. of Tama Art Univ., an interface for Geometric Curve Input by Sequential Freehand Drawing by Sato et al. of Muroran Institute of Technology, “Meeting Pot: Informal Communication Support in Ambience” by Shio of Tamagawa Univ., Mima of the Future Univ of Hakodate, a 3D visualization file structuring system using a metaphor of a tree by Nishimoto et al. of Tokyo Univ., “Time-ART” a tool for analysis of video data using spatial configuration by Yamamoto et. al. of Nara Institute of Science and Technology etc.

Following which were the presentations such as “The Relationship between arrangement participants and comfortableness of conversation in HyperMirror” by Morikawa et al. of National Institute of Bioscience and Human Technology, “Design of Rational Agents” who interact and communicate with other agents by Takada et al. of ATR, “The effective use of Head Pose and Position for Windows Interface system” by Kitaiima et al. of Univ. of Electro-Communications, “Multi-National Translation System” by Ogata et al. Seikei Univ. were presented.

The 2nd day’s best interactive prizes were awarded to “An interface for Geometric Curve Input by Sequential Freehand Drawing” and “Meeting Pot”, and this year’s ‘Interaction 2001’ finally came to an end.

The world of interface/interaction is something you can understand first by experiencing with your eyes and hands. Seldom can one experience this many presentations of current research at one time and the symposium became a good reference for the future development of information technology. I hope that in the future both technological engineers and artists/designers collaborate to create products of technical excellent and user attractiveness.

This symposium will be held next year as well and I suggest any of you who are interested in these ideas to try and participate further in their next development. Even just visiting the place as one of the audience could lead you to some good ideas and inspirations.

Text and Photos: Jo Kazuhiro
Translation: Joe Kazuhiro, Fayd Kwan

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