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"Touch the Future"

November 20-24 - INPG-ENSERG, Minatec Site
Free access - open to the public

The concept of the "Touch the future" exhibition is 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 interfaces as possible, and, in particular, those based on gestures, actions and manual tasks.

"Touch the Future" main objectives:

1. that visitors leave the demo space having learned something about the actual situation of interction 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 cannot be described by signs and symbols, by language or diagrams.

3. that visitors understand that questions like "How do I know that this object is this object?" are not simple to answer. Manipulating objects without seeing, or hearing, or even feeling with 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 are designed to be experimented by disabled people, particularly visually impaired people; non-disabled people will be invited to follow their approach. 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.

"Touch the Future" stands will be organised in 6 groups:

Group 1: Assembling

  • Demonstrator of virtual interactive assembling of mechanical pieces for industrial applications
  • Integration of tactile and force-feedback interfaces in virtual delicate assembling

Group 2: Corporal Mobility

  •  "How do we know that an object is within reach?"
  •  "Someone else's experience" or "How to identify ourselves with a virtual dummy differing from ourselves by size and proportions in order to make it execute manipulation's tasks"
  •  "Reconstruction of posture's movements in the musical performance of a clarinetist"

Group 3: Space's exploration and object's identification

  • Virtual Reality and spatial representation or "How can we navigate in or explore a map without seeing it?"
  • Virtual Reality and Mathematics learning or "How can we learn mathematics with our hands?"
  • Virtual Reality and Physics learning or "How can we manipulate nano-objects with the hands?"

Group 4: Manual collaborative work and sensory-motor cooperation

  • Virtual tactile meeting
  • Music cooperation by touching or "How does someone else react to my actions without seeing and hearing me?"

Group 5: Creativity

  • " The virtual violin" or "How the corporal relationship to the instrument is a key element to learning"
  • "Sonifying drawing" or "How does sound allow the identification of a graphic motion?"
  •  "The Pebble-box" or "What kind of object do we identify when we can't hear or see, or when we can't feel it with the hands?"

Group 6: Lexicon from experience

The network of excellence has produced a lexicon of terms about the technology and the perception of interfaces and multi-sensory tools. Several words of this lexicon will be accessible from action:

  • "What is the contour of an object?" or "Are the contours perceived by seeing or by touching the same? "
  • "Understanding elasticity through musical manipulation"
  • "The eyes at our fingertips" or "What do we see with our fingers?"

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