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Sumi-Nagashi

Sumi-Nagashi is an original and traditional Japanese art, similar to "marbling." In this installation, users experience streaming, picturesque "Sumi-Nagashi" literally and physically by using a newly developed desk-style force-feedback device. Dynamic visual and haptic changes of colors and shapes arouse new inspiration in painters.

Innovation
The newly developed "Proactive Desk" device, which resembles a normal tablet, is able to return physical information to the real world from the digital world.

A linear induction motor (LIM) is employed as the mechanism for generating the physical forces, and two LIM sets are placed in orthogonal orientation inside the desk. The two-degree-of-freedom LIM moves a nonmagnetic conductive material plate (a "forcer") on the desk toward any direction in two-dimensional space in accordance with Fleming's left-hand rule. In this demonstration, a forcer with a pen-type grip is used as an interface for the users.

In previous digital-painting systems, the tools, which mimic actual pens and brushes, exist only as a metaphor. Therefore, painters have to imagine the feeling of the actual tools. Such tools are also used only for an input interface, not for output. The result is usually displayed only as visual information.

In this work, a mechanism reacts with a force that is an intuitive and natural response from real materials in creative work. The LIM generates the force to a conductive material plate placed on coils. So it is able to display the force with a simple configuration, such as relaying a force to a small metal plate on the tip of a finger. And because it does not disturb the projection of the desktop image, this system is more suitable for operation of a digital desk requiring two-dimensional tasks than other force-feedback devices such as a mechanical link structure. It also offers the advantage that torque to the forcer can be easily controlled.

Vision
The importance of corporeality in the field of art is well known by all artists. An attractive piece of art can be created by deeply understanding and interacting with materials and tools through physical contact, and this is the beginning of creation. Artists translate tactile sensations on the skin, perceptions of very small changes in the muscles, and physiological changes in the brain to move their feelings into another dimension from those real elements.

However, "digital artists" have to sense those feelings unnaturally using nonexistent tools as if they are real tools actually manipulated by their imaginations. This fact implies that there is a limitation in multi-creativity and no necessity for human nature in the field of digital art, but it's too early to say that there is no future in this field. On the contrary, there is great unexperienced potential. The field is just immature.

This demonstration shows a new potential for art by harmonizing the visual and the haptic. It enables users to handle objects with the feeling of haptic sensation as if they were handling real objects, and it can also control real objects on the desk in response to events on the digital desktop. Painters can build their imagined effects on a physical canvas by correctly grasping the sensations of painting (the viscosity of paints and the touch of canvas, brushes, and paints). By applying force feedback to drawing software or CAD, users can not only use it as emulated real equipment, such as a pen, a brush, a T square or other items, but also as virtual equipment, such as an un-solid ruler, whoes shape is deformed depending on time, or a virtual brush that changes the stroke of the painter according to some rule. And if the desk remembers, stores, and represents the actions of painters, it can become a kind of machine to share or experience human feelings beyond time and space.

Goals
The digital revolution has dramatically changed the field of art. Artists always desire the cutting edge of technology in their tools, so they are naturally drawn to computers. However, current computer technologies appeal only to the visual and auditory senses. So the corporeality of the creator, which is indispensable for creation, is ignored. This demonstration brings tactile sensation, which is impossible to display by other digital tools, to the field of digital art with an advanced force feedback device. Our objective is to provide a new and novel tool to the field of art.

Contact
Shunsuke Yoshida
ATR Media Information Science Lab

Contributors
Mitsuhiro Kakita
Haruo Noma
Nobuji Tetsutani
ATR Media Information Science Lab

Jun Kurumisawa
Chiba University of Commerce




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