KEYNOTES

Integrating interactive devices with the user’s body

Pedro Lopes

the University of Chicago

  • Abstract

    The main question that drives my research is: what is the next interface paradigm that supersedes wearable devices? I argue that the new paradigm is one in which interactive devices will integrate with the user’s biological senses and actuators.

    This way of engineering devices that intentionally borrow parts of the user’s biology puts forward a new generation of miniaturized devices; allowing us to circumvent traditional physical constraints. For instance, in the case of my devices based on electrical muscle stimulation, they demonstrate how our body-device integration circumvents the constraints imposed by the size of motors used in traditional haptic devices (e.g., robotic exoskeletons). Taking this further, we can apply this integrated approach to other modalities. For instance, we engineered a device that delivers chemicals to the user to generate temperature sensations, without the need to rely on cumbersome thermal actuators, such as air conditioners or heaters. My approach to miniaturizing devices is especially useful to advance mobile interactions, such as in virtual or augmented reality, where users have a desire to remain untethered & free.

    Integrating devices with the user’s body allows to give users new physical abilities. For example, we have engineered a device that allows users to locate odor sources by “smelling in stereo” as well as a device that physically accelerates the user’s reaction time using muscle stimulation, which allows users to steer to safety or even catch a falling object that they would normally miss.

    While this integration can offer many benefits (e.g., faster reaction time, realistic simulations in VR/AR, or faster skill acquisition), it also requires tackling new challenges, such as the question of agency: do we feel in control when our body is integrated with an interface? Together with our colleagues in neuroscience, we have been measuring how our brain encodes agency to improve the design of this new type of integrated interfaces. We found that, even in the extreme case of interfaces that electrically control the user’s muscles, it is possible to improve the sense of agency. More importantly, we found that it is only by preserving the user’s sense of agency that these integrated devices provide benefits even after the user takes them out.

    Biography

    Pedro Lopes is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Chicago. Pedro focuses on integrating computer interfaces with the human body—exploring the interface paradigm that supersedes wearable computing. Some of these new integrated-devices include: muscle stimulation wearable that allows users to manipulate tools they have never seen before or that accelerate their reaction time, or a device that leverages the sense of smell to create an illusion of temperature. Pedro’s work has received a number of academic awards, such as five ACM CHI/UIST Best Papers, Sloan Fellowship and NSF CAREER. Pedro’s research also captured the interest of the public & media, covered by the New York Times and was exhibited at Ars Electronica & World Economic Forum. (More: https://lab.plopes.org)

Joint Keynote with ICAT-EGVE 2022

The present state and future of the metaverse as seen through the development of “Cluster”

Naoto Kato

CEO, Cluster, Inc.

  • Abstract

    The CEO of Cluster, the largest metaverse platform in Japan, will explain the current state of the metaverse business and how to use it practically.
    - Appearance of the metaverse market
    - Transition of Cluster’s business
    - Potential of the metaverse seen and understood from handling more than 100 projects yearly
    - The reality of people and communities that make their home in the metaverse

    Biography

    He studied cosmology and quantum computing at the Faculty of Science of Kyoto University. After dropping out of graduate school, he spent about three years as a recluse. In 2015, he founded the VR technology start-up, “Cluster.” In 2017, he released “Cluster,” a VR platform that allows users to hold large-scale virtual events. It has now evolved into a metaverse platform that allows users to not only hold events but also to talk with friends in their favorite avatars and post online games to play. He was selected as one of the “30 Japanese under 30 who will change the world” by the business magazine “Forbes JAPAN.”
    He is the author of “Metaverse: Good-bye Atom’s Era.” (Shueisha/2022, Japan)

Joint Keynote with ICAT-EGVE 2022

TBA

Daito Manabe

Artist / DJ, Rhizomatiks