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Review of the Touch the Future event

Monday, November 19th to Thursday, November 22nd, Grenoble

Presentation List of demos Participation


    The concept of the "Touch the future" exhibition was to give to the general public the opportunity to learn directly, through the sense of touch and through visual and audio perceptions, the last productions of research laboratories in such different domains as gestural, visual and sound interactions, virtual realities, tele-operation and their social applications in art, culture, medicine, sports and entertainment.  The conceptual link between presented demos is that of  "enaction", that tries to develop the most natural and intuitive human-computer interface and, in particular, those based on gestures, actions and manual tasks.

    The idea behind "Touch the Future" was to take advantage of the natural attractivity of the topics developed by Enactive Interfaces NoE on multimodal interaction, virtual realities, teleoperation and they social use in industry, arts, culture, medicine, sport and leisure, to invite people to experiment by their senses and their actions the concept of "enaction". They have noticeably led to experiment a great number of Emblematic Enactive Scenario situations developped by Enactive Interfaces NoE.

    The booths presented at "Touch the Future" were in the same time in a raw state (technologies was presented "as they are") but also in a sufficient shape to allow visitors to be guided in its visit. For instance, on each booth, a poster was explaining in French and in English the experiment in terms understandable by a non-expert public.

    At the entrance of "Touch the Future" space, sculptures of the artist Rosalyn Driscoll have been placed. Those sculptures made to be touch are questioning our perceptions and our way to define an object. They aimed at lead people to be in a state of mind favorable to questions about perceptions and representations of the world.

    "Touch the Futur" exhibition aimed at being an important moment for accessibility to the results of Enactive Networks. In addition to Enactive Partners Booth, ICA-ACROE have also invited researchers of Grenoble whose experiment are close to Enactive concern to present their own demo. This was the case of France Telecom Research Group, LPNC (Laboratoire de psychologie et de neurocognition of UPMF University, Grenoble) and TIMC (Techniques de l’Ingénierie Médicale et de la Complexité - Informatique, Mathématiques et Applications de Grenoble) laboratories.

from left to right : Assembly and Manipulation (PERCRO), Haptic writing – TELEMAQUE ( LPNC TIMC INRIA FTRD), Ergotic sound (ACROE / ICA), The alter body experience (EPFL), Real to virtual physical cooperation (ACROE / ICA) 

    The main objectives of "Touch the Future" were:

1. That visitors leave the demo space having learned something about the actual situation of interaction and communication's techniques used in Information and Communication's Technologies.

2. That visitors realize that all ordinary human-computer interfaces are based on symbolic or iconic representations and that, consequently, these interfaces are not able to support manual tasks. For example, the only way to learn violin is to try and reproduce the instrumental gestures of the teacher. What happens in manual activities that cannot be described by signs and symbols, by language or diagrams ?

3. That visitors understand that it is not so simple to answer to questions like "How do I know that this object is this object?". Manipulating objects without seeing, or hearing, or even feeling with only the hands is a very odd experience which leads to deeply feel the complexity of these questions. Visitors, guided all along the demonstrations by interactive panels, will be invited to experiment this by themselves.

    Since most of the demos are highly "touch-oriented", they were designed in order to be experimented by disabled people, particularly visually impaired people. A visit of "Touch the Future" will be organised in partnership with the "Service Accueil Handicap" and the "Culture et Vie Universitaire" mission of the universities of Grenoble.

List of posters

Emblematic Enactive Scenario (13)
Ergotic Sounds ACROE / ICA
Pebble box ACROE / ICA, QUB, ULUND
Hands in nanoworld ACROE / ICA
Real to virtual physical cooperation ACROE / ICA
Assembly and Manipulation PERCRO
The alter body experience EPFL
Danse and movement analysis UM1, QUB

How do we know if an object is within reach ? UM1, DEI, Institut Nicod, APAL
Perceptual crossing COSTECH

Communicating through virtual facial MIRALAB, COSTECH
Multimodal application for visually impaired LABEIN

A pseudo-haptic experiment CEIT

Feeling virtual shapes and textures EXETER
Dynamic Enactive Lexicon Words & Enactive Virtual Laboratory (4)
Rigidity ACROE / ICA
Shapes and contours ACROE / ICA

Learning elasticity from musical virtual performance DEI

Virtual laboratory PERCRO
Experimental didactico-artistic experiment (2)
Voice Painting DEI, DIST
3D Calligraphy EPFL
Other Demos (11)
Physically-based sound synthesis platform GENESIS ACROE-ICA
Physically-based animation platform MIMESIS ACROE-ICA
Physically-based Interactive Visualisation ACROE-ICA
Multisensory haptic 6D simulator TELLURIS ACROE-ICA

Eyes Web Platform DIST

Interactive books PERCRO

Improve balance in hemiplegic population UM1
Geometry learning – SALOME FTRD

Seeing with the tongue – sensory substitution TIMC LPNC
Pebble Box Versatile Implementation McGill university

from left to right : Rigidity (ACROE / ICA), Assembly and Manipulation (PERCRO), Voice painting (DEI, DIST), The alter body experience (EPFL), Real to virtual physical cooperation (ACROE / ICA)


Apart the participants to the conference, "Touch the Future" welcomed more than 100 people each day. For the 250 participants to Enactive 07 Conference, specific periods in ENACTIVE/07 schedule have been planed to allow these participants as a specific public to attend to "Touch the Future" : from 15.20 to 16.20 the 20th of November and from 12.00 to 13.00 the 21st of November.
Thus, apart people of the conference, about 600 people attended "Touch the Future".

From the 20th to the 23th, visitors were:
-    50 % of students.
-    30 % of researchers in various domains. A huge proportion of them was scientists (technology, psychology, philosophy). A residual part was artists.
-    20 % of general public with a large proportion of families.

4 scholar classes also attended the event. These scholar classes were technical classes brougth at "Touch the Future" by their teachers in technology.

On Saturday, the 24th, visitors were rather exclusively of general public.

from left to right : PebbleBox (ACROE / ICA, QUB, ULUND), Voice painting (DEI, DIST),Multisensory haptic 6D simulator TELLURIS (ACROE / ICA ), Geometry learning – SALOME (FTRD), Perceptual crossing (COSTECH)

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