Junji Watanabe, Eisuke Kusachi: Touch the Invisibles

  • ©,



    Touch the Invisibles


Creation Year:



Artist Statement:

    This novel interface superimposes tactile information onto the images displayed on a computer monitor (see also Ando et al., SIGGRAPH 2002 Emerging Technologies). A small vibrator is attached to a user’s fingernail, and when a vibration is presented during a finger movement, the vibration can be perceived as the stimulus from a finger pad, instead of a stimulus from the nail. This illusory percept of tactile information is the basis of this interface technology.

    The vibrator is attached to user’s nail with double sticky tape. The timing and magnitude of the vibration are controlled based on the position of the finger measured with the touch sensor of an LCD panel. When the user rubs an image, tactile feedbacks is presented. With this interface technology, any kind of visual image can be displayed with real-time tactile feedback. We used it to produce an artwork on the subject of how humans perceive the real and digital worlds through the sense of touch.

    In Touch the Invisibles, invisible Lilliputians are muddling on the computer monitor. When the user’s finger encounters the invisible Lilliputians, vibrations are presented to the nail, and tactile information indicating an encounter is generated. The user cannot see the invisible Lilliputians but can touch them. On the other hand, the user cannot touch visible Lilliputians. The Lilliputians live in the area where modalities of human senses are partly separated. This artwork enables users to feel the association and dissociation of the two modalities, and demonstrates an application of haptic interfaces to art and entertainment.