all images courtesy the artist
hong kong new media creative eric siu has conceived of a tactile camera known as ‘touchy‘. siu has developed the touch-driven device as a resident artist
of the ishikawa oku laboratory at the university of tokyo. the artist’s interest in
interactive art, video, kinetics, animation, and video
has helped to inform
the interactive technological piece which serves as an actualized
phenomenological social interaction experiment, dividing its wearer
from the world
until they receive the touch of another human being.
the camera works in such a way that it sits atop the user’s head, blocking out his/her sight until the individual is touched by another person. it is only when
the continuous physical contact is maintained between touchy and an outside contact that the human camera may capture an image every ten seconds.
eye-hole shutters open and close, giving the wearer back their own vision as the device captures an image of that moment of sight.
‘touchy’ weighs 1.17 kg with a height of 163mm, width of 208mm and depth of 239mm. most wearer’s heads may fit comfortably
inside the device within the 60cm circumference provided. the camera
captures images in 640 x 480 and 1600 x 1200 dimensions in JPG format
with a pixel 2.0 megapixels CMOS sensor. the photographic device offers
an LCD monitor of 3.5 inches across portraying 320 x 240 pixels.
the battery is 12 volts and lasts through 2 hours of operation time.
the creators of ‘touchy’ note that in our technologically driven modern world, it is easy and ‘… common for humans to be separated into social bubbles,
to avoid sharing social space and to connect to strangers. however, technologies like internet social networking or the mobile phone loosens social boundaries,
hence dehumanizing physical communication. to a certain extent, it generates social anxiety such as the one experienced in the ‘hikikomori’ and ‘otaku’ cultures
in japan. touchy criticizes this phenomenon and suggests a solution by transforming the human being into a social device: a camera. the touchy project investigates
how such a device improves social life, presupposing that a camera is a known tool for sharing memories, valuable moments, enjoyment, emotions, beauty and so forth‘.
‘touchy hybridizes the roles of human and camera by unifying their respective capabilities, which requires the user to consider the affordances of both ends:
body and machine. what is particularly phenomenal about the touchy experience is that it fundamentally challenges one’s notion of proximity because
the interaction is reduced to the threshold of skin contact. on certain occasions, this experience is heightened by direct eye contact: a snapshot action reveals
bear eyes behind the touchy device. what used to be a common mechanical process is now a transcending psychological connection that gives all its meaning
to the expression: ‘the eyes are the window of the soul.’ isn’t it a lyrical irony that gazing into another’s eyes for 10 seconds gives life to your self-portrait?‘
-the creators of ‘touchy’
artist: eric siu
hardware + software development: eric siu, tomohiko hayakawa
touch sensor design: tomohiko hayakawa, carson reynolds
collaborators: ishikawa oku laboratory at the university of tokyo
project adviser: novmichi tosa at maywa denki
project assistant: shion fujiwara
motor provider: koshin denki kogyo co. LTD
special thanks to: alvaro cassinelli, tomoko hayashi, takeoka hideki,
sylwia kunicka, joel kwong, charles ngan, sam ngan, families and friends