Micro Friendship
Interactive Installation
1m x 2m x 4m

Yasushi Matoba
Hiroshi Matoba:
Human Media Research Laboratories, NEC Corporation

Small creatures surround us in our everyday life. In our large-scale world, we sometimes are not aware of their existence. Sometimes, these small creatures even anger or annoy us by their presence. Isn't it a pity that we have either no relationships with them or if any tent to have rather negative relationships with these small creatures? Couldn't we somehow have better, more intimate relationships with them?

With this instillation, we can understand and communicate with these creatures. Its mechanism enables us to interact and create friendships with animals whom we might otherwise never notice.

This installation is composed of a table, a flat display monitor such as PDP, a rod set between the flat monitor and the table, a microscopic video camera, a 2-dimensionally movable stage and small insects on the stage.

The rod is connected to an insect-sized rod inside the display. Movements on the large rod are mechanically converted into micro-sized movements on the small rod. The display screen shows a magnified view of the insect-sized interior. The size is scaled such that the micro-rod in the display seems to be really connected with the large rod on the outside. Participants can thus seamlessly move this virtual rod to interact with the small creatures in the display.

Participants can also use a joystick to control the position of the stage that supports the creature. The joystick is linked to motors that control the position of the stage. Participants can thus move around the insect world and find their insect-sized friends, and come into better contact with them.

This installation offers a new type of virtual reality, which can make worlds with very different scales from ours appear seamless and naturally accessible to us. We hope that you can see the charm and character of these new worlds, and make friends you might not have been aware were there.