Source: ACM SIGGRAPH Citation
Takeo lgarashi earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Engineering at the University of Tokyo in 1995, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Tokyo in 2000. From his earliest papers in the mid-1990s, his sense of fluidity in interaction design was apparent.
His early work was on 2D interfaces, including systems that not only beautified drawings using “snapping” techniques, but which added a new kind of interaction in which the system offered the user multiple suggestions for further drawing strokes based on what was already present in the drawing. This made it easy to draw parallel lines, reflected shapes, and repeated patterns.
By 1997, the “visual programming” metaphor had made programming via spreadsheets a model success story for computer science. As a summer intern at Xerox PARC, he and his colleagues attacked the problem of making it even easier to do spreadsheet programming by providing visualizations of the underlying dataflow structure and, more importantly, allowing a kind of inductive copying of dataflow structure as part of the interface. During his internship the following year at PARC, he developed a collection of interaction techniques for large-scale, whiteboard-like displays, including a remarkably intuitive streetmap drawing application in which strokes were automatically widened into two-sided roads, and intersections appeared like magic.
At SIGGRAPH in 1999, Takeo presented his Ph.D. work, “Teddy,” a system for drawing smooth 3D shapes with a minimal gesture set. In many ways, this work represents the essence of Takeo’s approach: he wasn’t improving the interface to standard CAD modeling; instead, he was bringing a new kind of simple but powerful 3D shape modeling to computer graphics. Teddy’s success can be measured in part by its user base: it is now being used in a variety of commercial products, including PC applications and home video games. And the insight was that with the right goal and sufficiently well-designed interface, new things were possible for new users. One of the really beautiful things about Takeo’s work is that he takes a problem that is, in general, very difficult or even unsolvable, and finds an important special case where there is a simple and elegant solution.
Takeo continues to surprise us with this vision of the possible, from interactive clothing manipulation and design to the description and illustration of volume data through a sketching interface, to handmade animation of shapes through multi-touch interaction that lets the human “feel” of a motion be captured in an easily-created animation.
Takeo’s work serves as a model for what the “Interactive Techniques” portion of SIGGRAPH’s charter can be. ACM SIGGRAPH is pleased to recognize Takeo Igarashi with the 2006 Significant New Researcher Award both for his research contributions and for the inspiration and new directions he brings to the SIGGRAPH community