Ninja Track

Introduction

テレビにケータイ。ゲームにパソコン。スマホにタブレットに、エトセトラ。私たちが手にするデジタルメディアは、どれも固く、堅く、硬いものばかり。いやいや、デジタルメディアだけじゃありません。机も鉛筆もマグカップも、私たちの日用品は、おしなべて「かたい」のです。

だけど世の中、かたいものばかりではありません。例えば植物。そして動物。つまり生物はしなやかです。その理由は、人体の七割が水分と言われるように、水を多く含んでいるからです。

水は柔軟です。どんな器にも注ぐことができます。そして水は「やわからい」ばかりではありません。氷となって「かたく」なることができます。蒸気となって「ひろがる」こともできます。こうした水-氷-水蒸気にみられるダイナミックな性質の変化を、科学では「相転移」と呼びます。

ここで話を、デジタルメディアへと戻しましょう。デジタルメディアは、一般にハードウェアとソフトウェアの2つで構成されています。このうちソフトウェアは、その名が示すとおり、水のように変幻自在な「情報」でできています。一方でハードウェアは、先ほど述べたとおり、固く、堅く、硬い「物質」でできています。この「物質」が、もし相転移的に変化できたなら、いったいなにがおこるでしょうか?

そんな発想から、形状と柔軟性が一転する構造体・ニンジャトラックが生まれました。



Promotional Video: Ninja Track - The Final Cut (2012/10)


In the upcoming Ubicomp era, various ideas have been proposed regarding user interfaces which can control analog materials. These studies focus on computers altering the physical properties of object such as shape, color, fur effects; as well as animating liquids and paper. Based on these premises of phase transitioning objects, we are investigating these ideas further to see how they transform our future lifestyles. We call such objects as 'Phase Transition-ish Apparatus (PTA)'.

The transformation of thermodynamic system is a representative example of phase transition (e.g. water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100 degrees). One aspect of such transformation is that of flexibility, we present below a future vision where everyday objects and interfaces are equipped with such characteristics.

Think of splints - if they were made of such PTA, they could be folded into compact flexible fabric and carried easily by riders and climbers. During casualties, the splints would regain their structure, strength and rigidity by simply turning them into a strong stick.

The prototype Ninja Track which we made as an example of PTA.


Ninja Track

Ninja Track

ニンジャトラックは、縦横に蝶番で連結された構造体です。ベルト状態では縦にも横にも自由に折り曲がり、様々な形を作ることができます。しかしひとたび折り込めば、まるで棒のように固くなります。写真のプロトタイプは、3Dプリンタで出力されたABSで作られています。

Ninja Track is a belt shaped object which possesses the capacity to alter its flexibility and hence strength. It consists at its modular level - a composition of two parts - the vertical hinges and horizontal hinges. When flat, Ninja Track is fluid and wavy. When the user folds it at the horizontal hinges, Ninja track becomes a rigid stick. Both the parts are made of ABS.


Applications

Ninja Track for Game

もしニンジャトラックがゲームのコントローラーだったら?

Ninja Track for Game Ninja Track for Game

一般的なコントローラーは、かたちを変えることができません。しかしニンジャトラックであれば、仮想的にも物質的にも変化するコントローラーを作ることができます。写真のプロトタイプは、 鞭から剣へと早変わりするコントローラーです。ニンジャトラック(上:ABS製・下:ステンレス製)のほかにMCU(Arduino Pro Mini or Arduino FIO)・加速度センサー・スイッチ・サーボモーター・Max/MSP(MacBook Pro)を使用します。

Ninja Track for Games Ninja Track for Games

The 4th Anniversary Edition (Refined with Kensaku Kawauchi, Loh Zhide, and Daniel Chua)

Using Ninja Track, we had created two applications. One is a physical game interface which can transform a whip into a sword virtually and physically. This interface consists of Ninja Track (ABS or Metal), MCU (Arduino Pro Mini or Arduino FIO), 3 axis accelerometer, servo motor, switch and Max/MSP (MacBook Pro). In the normal state, the user can use it as a whip when she/he swings it. When the switch is turned on, Ninja Track is automatically folded by the servo motor and the user can use it as a sword. Corresponding to the physical manipulations, Ninja Track alters its form giving the user tangible feedback and a more immersive experience.

 

Ninja Track for Music

もしニンジャトラックが電子楽器だったら?

NTM2 ntm

ニンジャトラックを使えば、形状と動作に応じて音色が変化する、魔法の楽器を作ることができます。写真のプロトタイプは、ニンジャトラック(中空)のほかにMCU(xtel)・加速度センサー・曲げセンサー・リードスイッチ・マグネット・タクトスイッチ・Max/MSP(MacBook Pro)などを使用します。

Another is a musical instrument which can make sounds depending on its shape and interaction. It consist of Ninja Track, MCU (xtel), 3 axis accelerometer, bend sensor, read switch, magnet, tact switch, and Max/MSP (MacBook Pro). When Ninja Track is flat and the tact switch is pushed, it makes sound of a recorder. When Ninja Track is bent and the tact switch is pushed, it makes sound of a saxophone. Further, when Ninja Track is a stick and the user shakes it, it makes sound of a drum. When Ninja Track is made like a ring and shaken, the sound of a bell is heard. And it makes a sound of harp when it is rotated in a ring shape.

 

Activities


Demo at SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 (2011/12)

Ninja Track for Games at ArtSchience Museum
The Game for Ninja Track, created by Brosnan Chia (2014/10)

2014/10/05: Sunday Showcase, ArtScience Museum, Singapore.
2013/05/15-16: Innovfest 2013, Orchard Hotel, Singapore.
2013/02/10-13: TEI 2013 Full Paper and Demo, Barcelona, Spain.
2013/01/13-20: Japan Media Arts Festival in Yamanshi, Kofu, Japan.
2012/11/16: the 7th James Dyson Award Japan Winners Award, Tokyo, Japan.
2012/10/10-12: 100% Design Singapore, MBS, Singapore.
2012/02/22-03/04: the 15th Japan Media Arts Festival, Tokyo, Japan.
2011/12/12-15: ACM SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 Emerging Technologies, Hong Kong.
2011/12/01-03: WISS 2011, Kyoto, Japan.

 

See also....

Spinoff projects ReelBlade and WIZ

 

These research prototypes were upgraded in cooperation with Kensaku Kawauchi (ReelBlade and WIZ / Embedded Engineer), Daniel Chua (ReelBlade / Industrial Designer), Loh Zhide (ReelBlade / Industrial Designer), Ahmad Sapon Zainuddin (WIZ / Embedded Engineer), and IDMI Engineering Team from 2015 to 2016.

Special Thanks: Hideaki Nii, Shintaro Kitazawa, Dhairya Dand, Masaaki Sato, and Satoru Tokuhisa.

This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its International Research Center Keio-NUS CUTE Center @ Singapore Funding Initiative and administered by the IDM Program Office.

 

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