ePlay - Physical play via network

The Center for Playware has cooperated with the Centre for Adaptive Machine Systems in Osaka, Japan, in the development of a physical game which can be played long-distance without screen and keyboard.

In Professor Ishiguro’s laboratory, his robot twin now has the opportunity to get a new pastime – that is, if it was able to stand up and use its body. The Center for Playware has, in cooperation with researchers from the Osaka laboratory, created a game in which individual players located in different places of the world, (f.eks. Osaka and  Lyngby), can aim at each other and shoot using virtual bullets.

The players move around in a virtual environment of sensors, which picks up the players’ movements. Using a Wii remote, which is adapted to the system, the players can load, aim and shoot at each other – in the same room or from each their side of the Earth.

By examining how we understand the representation of another human being in a virtual environment, we are able to extract valuable knowledge on the process of interacting in a digital environment.  This casts new light upon human-robot interaction. Within the field of human-robot interaction (HRI) intelligent, human-like behavior is simulated, but we now have to understand how humans interact with each other mediated by technology.

We are interested in building a game through which the players can get the feeling of sharing a room without actually being in the same room, and without being able to see each other. Central to this research is the awareness of how the players perceive the room and the presence of the other players in this unique set-up.

The project examines the preconditions for the players to actually feel the social and physical presence of another human in the physical room through mediated interaction.

The technology could easily be the center of attention in such a system, but for us, the ambition is to make the technology recede into the background in order to make the players concentrate on their game and their interaction. This interaction must be the center of attention.

We wish to locate the exact factors that give us the notion of the presence of another human being. We are especially interested in how sound and movement, but also how the experience of immediate feedback and the possibility of identifying an intention, influences the experience of another person as being present.

When we look into these questions, we are able to gain more knowledge on how to build systems, which supports the experience of, or simulates, the presence of another person.