Haptic Interaction with Artificial Life by Aerial Mixed Reality Display
Tactile Microcosm of ALife offers interaction with artificial organisms, whereby the user can enjoy playing with fish-like organisms through aerial imaging and haptic feedback. The holographic organisms float in water in a petri dish, and the user can feel a forcefield of the vital of the organisms via force feedback.
This artwork attempts to create a new educational tool for interacting with artificial life (ALife) using mixed reality technologies. The “Tactile Microcosm of Alife” offers midair interaction with holographic artificial organisms. The user can enjoy a crossover experience between the physical world and a virtual existence via a physical mixed reality interface that provides aerial imaging perception and haptic feedback. The proposed system comprises behavior simulation of groups of virtual organisms, a tactile aerial display combined with aerial imaging by retroreflection, and a force feedback device. The holographic organisms float in water in a petri dish. The aerial image can be observed perceptually between the bottom of the petri dish and the surface of water.
The artificial lifeforms appear like microorganisms in terms of size; however, they exhibit behavior similar to fish in that they form a school of fish that demonstrates autonomous collective behavior. This behavior is based on a modified BOIDs algorithm that simulates the predator–prey relationship between different species. Consequently, the school of virtual fish disperses when the user stirs it, and gathers when the user provides food. In addition, the user can feel the forcefield of the vital potential of organisms via the force feedback interface. Each creature generates a force field according to the activity state. The force feedback device displays the total potential at a position pointed out by the user. The combination of haptic feedback, aerial imaging, and improved artificial life simulation will effectively help users, particularly children, learn a wide variety of biological sciences. We expect that this project will contribute to introducing new and valuable experiences in science education.