Exhibition at Yokohama

On June 14th 2014, Shirai-lab of KAIT along with many other KAIT labs prepared and exhibited at the Yokohama Youth Center.  There on the third floor the Shirai-lab exhibited our ExPixel, Manga Generator, and two new projects (a projection project where user can change the image projected onto a transparent globe with hand .

The preparation of the exhibition took place on June 13th on Friday when six of the lab members including me went to Yokohama Youth Center to set up the hard and softwares for the exhibition.  There I worked with the Manga Generator team to set up Kinect, projector, projection screen, and laptops.  I also took part in setting up the race tracks for the racing game.  The six of us worked from noon till seven and left with everything setup and running.  By then the youth center has been closed for almost an hour and the manager had to “escort” us out of the youth center.

On Sunday the entire Shirai-lab arrived at Yokohama Youth Center at around 8:30 AM and began setting up and finalizing program settings.  From 10:00 till 3:00 we entertained dozens of guests, most of them families with parents and children.  It is here that I was able to test out how the new comic stipe I made for Manga Generator played for the children, and most are pretty happy about it.  During the middle of the exhibition the Kinect we used malfunctioned temporarily and for a time players cannot see their image on the screen, causing some panels to appear without the players in them.  This proved to be a bit embarrassing but the problem was quickly fixed.

I did found out during the exhibition that the selection icon of stories matters a lot and that more exciting looking icons are clicked more often.  Stories containing giant monsters, let it be robots or mutated animals, tend to attract more kids too.  I am not sure if this is due to Japanese’s interest in giant monsters such as Godzilla or Gundam, but in the future we should put questionnaires asking  why do people choose to play the story they chose and what kinds of stories do they want to see.

After the exhibition, Shirai-lab members went to walk around Yokohama docks and kill time before the group dinner at an Italian restaurant.  Afterwards we went to an outdoor exhibition place built in the shape of ancient Rome colosseum where we watched a 3D projection screening.  In this screening, the projected image moves in a way that makes it seem as if the bricks of the colosseum is shifting and relocating themselves to form different kinds of shapes.  Portals would open in the colosseum and at one time the colosseum appeared to be underwater.  What this 3D projection screening did so successfully is that it is able to completely focus the audience’s attention on the subject matter shown at the moment and all images fits perfectly into the colosseum.  No where does the shape and outline of bricks in the colosseum goes against the image being projected and the whole presentation is a coherent master piece.

NHK Research Lab Visit

On May 29th, 2014, part of the Shirai-lab visited the NHK exhibition in NHK research lab in Tokyo.  It also turns out that Shirai-sensei used to work on the fifth floor of the research lab.  The guests are only able to visit the first floor and basement (they converted the parking lot into exhibition space) of the building.

The exhibition shows the lists of researches NHK branches and related companies are working on.  The topics exhibited in the exhibition include new types of cameras, TV screens, audio system, cable system, underwater signal transition system, TV program navigation system, and animation/audio synthesis system.  One such research named “Underwater Visible Light Wireless IP Transmission Technology” allows the live broadcast of visual image from cameras held by scuba divers to receivers on the surface using visible light signals.  I was also able to see the evolution of live broadcasting cameras from 2002 to 2014 and how 32 kg bulky 2002 era cameras evolved into 2kg cameras in 2014.  The 8k Super Hi-Vision televisions is another high-light of the show, which shows great improvements definition wise especially when compared to the 2k HD televisions commonly seem nowadays.  These 8k Super Hi-Vision televisions can even show snow particles and scratches on ice surface during ice-skating competitions clearly.