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Having fun with technology in the virtual world

From virtual water that you stir in a real bowl to little digital dwarves to play with, the latest trend from Japan is making technology both fun and thought-provoking.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 11:50 IST
AFP

From virtual water that you stir in a real bowl to little digital dwarves to play with, the latest trend from Japan is making technology both fun and thought-provoking.

The works of art along the Japanese aisle at the International Conference on Virtual Reality in Laval, western France, are not the sort you find protected behind glass.

Spectators "derive emotion from the images, but also from the possibility they have of changing the course of those images," notes Alain Grumbach, a virtual reality specialist.

The effect is almost magical. It is a funny feeling, pushing a box of tea across a table and feeling a team of tiny virtual imps resisting it with all their might, but visible only through a little wooden window – as in ‘Kobito Virtual Brownies’ by the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Device art is the latest craze in Japan at the moment and "is often gadget-like", says Machiko Kusahara of Waseda University in Tokyo. “Artists produce commercial products for available in daily life... [they] try to reach the widest possible audience." Device art reflects the importance of aesthetics in daily life, explains Kushara.