hiroo iwata on ‘robot tiles’ at tokyo fiber 09 senseware image © designboom

device art explores the connection between art, design, technology, science and entertainment using a range of technologies – from the everyday to the latest high-tech gadgets. it is a movement that finds its origins in japan and intends to explore the significance new technologies in our world. in the past, technological devices have merely been viewed as a tool to one’s artistic endeavors, however, the goal of this movement is to place technology at the forefront of the work.

hiroo iwata:device art hiroo iwata on ‘robot tiles’ image © designboom

‘robot tile’ by japanese engineering researcher hiroo iwata follows the principles of device art. the work encompasses movable floor tiles which repositions themselves as users walk ahead. the tiles incorporate sensors using electrically-conductive textiles.

hiroo iwata:device art hiroo iwata on ‘robot tiles’ image © designboom

hiroo iwata:device art ‘robot tiles’, fabrics conduct electricity using nano-level conductivity image © designboom

hiroo iwata:device art hiroo iwata demonstrating ‘media vehicle’image courtesy of getty images

‘media vehicle’ is a small size vehicle that allows the user to move around real and virtual space. the driver on board experiences the environment through a combination of live video images and real movement. on the exterior, a wide angle camera is setup feeding live images to the interior. the flow of visual data from exterior to interior allows for a multilayered experience.

hiroo iwata:device art

the technology of media vehicle also opens up the possibility for a ‘cross active system’, where one person remains in the cockpit while a second person controls the camera housing the position sensor. collected image and motion data is sent inside the vehicle leaving driver feeling like a puppet being steered by someone else.

hiroo iwata:device art hiroo iwata portrait © designboom

‘media vehicle’ is currently part of cyber arts japan, a group media-art exhibition at the museum of contemporary art, tokyo. the exhibition will last until march 22 and features other artists whose work also focuses on art and technology in japan.

cyber arts japan is a celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of ars electronica, the worldwide media art festival held annually in linz, austria. the ties between ars electronica and japan have been close since the festival’s founding in 1979, thanks to the work of many japanese artists. since then, this annual event has become the world’s largest electronic art festival.

hiroo iwata is an associate professor at the institute of engineering mechanics and systems of the university of tsukuba. he conducts research on virtual reality technologies, particularly media technologies as applied to physical senses. he is also the research representative for core research for evolutionary science and technology (CREST) at the japan science and technology agency.