Liquid Interfaces

Liquid Interfaces won the Creative Showcase Golden Award at ACE2010 in Taiwan.  The competition was part of the Advances in Computer Entertainment conference which brings together researchers and practitioners from industry and academia to present and discuss their work in breakthrough areas in computer entertainment. From more than 15 projects Liquid Interfaces was chosen as the first price by the attendees public poll.  The second position was shared by two projects “VirtualPhilharmony: a conducting system focused on a sensation of conducting a real orchestra” and “A Software System for Creating and Developing Mobile Augmented Reality Applications”  The conference attracted a multi-disciplinary group including experts in the arts, sociology, anthropology, psychology, marketing, computer science and design.  Liquid Interfaces Gold Award

IEEE/RSJ 2010 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2010)

Conference Report:

IEEE/RSJ 2010 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2010)

June 22-24, 2010

Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands

Hooman A. Samani

The IEEE/RSJ 2010 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2010) was held on October 18-22, 2010 at the Taipei International Conference Center(TICC), Taipei, Taiwan. IROS 2010 was the 23rd year of the conference.

The conference theme was “Intelligent Robotics in the Next Transition” The theme of IROS 2010 was chosen such that the conference would continue reflect the ever increasing interest in interactions, co-works, and co-existence of robots with human, cognitive robotics and other forms of intelligent machines and systems, with the goal for improving the better quality of human life.

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AmbiKraf presented at the Ars Electronica 2010 “repair” festival

The Keio-NUS CUTE Center had the honor of presenting the project “AmbiKraf – Breathing life into textiles” at this year’s Ars Electronica 2010 festival from 2nd to the 11th of September 2010. The theme of this year’s festival was “repair” which focused on innovative solutions towards many of societal issues. This year the festival was dispersed over few key locations in the city with bulk of the installations being at the Tabakfabrik of Linz. Tabakfabrik is an old tobacco factory that was set up in 1850 for the manufacture of cigars and pipes. After its constant growth throughout the years that expanded its workforce to approximately 1000 people, the factory ceased its operations in 2009. The city of Linz recently acquired the Tabakfabrik again is currently being assessed for its future options of use.

We presented “AmbiKraf – Breathing life into textiles” as an installation in the ‘Future Factory’ category. Here we presented an interactive byobu screen. In this installation we had a custom made byobu screen that animated flowers appearing and disappearing in a very subtle manner. With AmbiKraf we showcased how the future technology can ‘repair’ the traditional arts and crafts of textiles by merging those age old traditions with the future technology. The installation was well received for its efforts of bringing back these old traditions in a suitable manner for the contemporary society. In addition, Mili Tharakan, a Research Fellow of the CUTE Center in Singapore delivered a talk based on the theme of AmbiKraf at the “Future Factory Talks” session.

This year’s festival also featured some of the other key works such as “Oribotics” by Matthew Gardiner, the “HONDA ASIMO”, “Telenoid” by Hiroshi Ishiguro – a key figure in the android robotics field, etc.

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AmbiKraf receives an honorary mention at the Nokia UbiMedia MindTrek Awards

AmbiKraf received an honorary mentioning at the recently concluded Nokia UbiMedia MindTrek Awards 2010, in Tampere Finland. This competition was held as a part of the MindTrek Conference which is a leading Nordic digital media and business conference, focusing on social media & Web 2.0. The Nokia UbiMedia MindTrek Competition is a competition sponsored by Nokia in search of projects, products or services that seek to broaden our understanding of how ubiquitous media will influence out future.

MindTrek certificate
Nokia UbiMedia MindTrek Certificate

Attracting over 20 entrants from around the world, the jury selected three projects as the finalists with ‘AmbiKraf’ from the Keio-NUS CUTE Center in Singapore and ‘iBall’ from Hasselt University/EDM in Benlgium receiving honorary mentions. The winner of the competition was ‘myGreenspace’ by the eHealth Group RWTH Aachen, Kai Kasugai und Felix Heidrich. The press release on the honorary mention stated “The jurywould like to express their recognition for two distinct projects which did not make the top three, but definitely deserve an honorable mention. The motion-sensitive “iBall”, invented by Hasselt University / EDM in Belgium, enhances traditional ball games with mobile gaming features. The AmbiKraf project from Keio-NUS CUTE Center, National University of Singapore, has invented a technology to render smooth animations on textiles using thermo chromic ink. Both projects extend ubiquitous media into new areas of application in convincing ways.”

Press release:

El Mercurio: Virtual hugs and intelligent pillows invented in Asia by Amalia Torres

El Mercurio

Name of the newspaper – El Mercurio
Name of the Journalist – Amalia Torres

Title – Virtual hugs and intelligent pillows invented in Asia

Sewing machines, books on the psychology of love and a lot of disorder may not be the image you have of a scientific laboratory. Less from the one who has the difficult task of bringing the virtual world to reality.

However, the Mixed Reality Lab at the National University of Singapore operates on a different logic.

According to Professor José Sepúlveda a Spanish researcher who came to this place, as several scholars and foreign students, motivated by the projects, “we spend all the time discussing ideas and only the craziest ones get to be implemented”.

An example? One of the first inventions from the laboratory was to create a human Pacman. To play, participants carried a backpack with a computer and used special glasses that allowed them to see the city as if it were the classic eighties game. Thus, a player takes the role of Pacman while his friends were the ghosts that had to reach it.

“The original idea was to bring to the physical world what we saw on the screen. But now we go further. We are investigating how to make the interaction complete, using the internet to send information to all the senses such as smell, touch, or taste”says Adrian Cheok, director of the laboratory.

So innovative are the projects that emerge from these students in engineering, design, sociology and psychology that have won dozens of awards in France, Italy, Taiwan and the United States. Here, some of their best ideas.

2.0 Huggy Pajamas

Imagine you are on a business trip away from your son. At night you connect through Skype, read him a story and then you hug him. How? With the “Huggy pajama, a jacket that using air pockets in the back, shoulders and chest, can can give you the sensation of receiving a hug, because it inflates in those areas.
To operate it, the person sending the hug pushes a button in a device connected to the internet. “This project does not replace the real hug, but it helps to feel closer. When we showed the prototype, I received email from a mother whose daugther was in intensive care in the hospital. She wrote to tell us how this could be useful for people like her” says Professor Cheok.

Age Invaders

It is no secret that for many older adults is difficult to play the current computer games, which, however, for children are their favorite pastime. With that in mind, we created “Age Invaders”, a game composed of a large electronic board that is placed on the ground and lights indicating where one must move. Thanks to special slippers, the board knows where the players are, and will deliver different challenges, like chasing a few hearts that light up, or follow the direction of arrows. “This game can bring together different generations, while they exercise together. On the other hand, if the parents want to know what the children and granparents are doing, they can follow the match online online,” says José Sepúlveda.

Playful Utensils

To make a memorable meal, give your guests the latest generation of chopsticks. Here, through an electronic system, the chopsticks create music through the eating movement. The music is transmitted via Wi-Fi and can serve as the soundtrack of the meal. This invention also serves to teach children to use these tools through rhythm.

Poultry Internet

Before creating the “Huggy pajama,” lab students invented and patented a jacket for chickens, a common pet in parts of Asia. The invention works by putting a coat on the animal.
If the owner is not home, he should carry a plastic replica of the pet with a similar jacket (see photo) and connect it to the internet. So, the owner will be able to pet the chicken from a remote location. The project can also be used on dogs and cats.

Robot love

“We want to create a sense of love for robots. So a student is studying what makes us human love: analyzing the movements, physical beauty, tone of voice and psychology,” says Professor José Sepúlveda. “In the future I think there will be robots that have a human couple. There is people that cannot be standed by anyone!” He says. For now, the “lovotics robot is just a prototype.

Safe Kids

“PETIMO (pictured) was born with the idea that there is no safe social networking for children,” says Nimesha Ranasinghe, one of the students in charge of the project. Therefore, the objective of the toy is that, only kids first known in real life can join network in cyberspace. Thus, only when two Petimos approach, children become virtual friends. Then, the robot can let them chat and play them online.