Dates : 5/3/2011 – 13/3/2010

Location : NEC - R&D Center in Osaka, Japan

As a part of the completion of the NEC Co-Dining project, a team of 6 CUTE Center members visited the NEC R&D Center in Osaka. The purpose of this visit was to install all the projects and complete the project between the two centers. The projects included the interactive TV screen, hosting table, food printer and the AmbiKraf table cloth system.

Since there was a virus attack at the NEC labs the internet of the whole building had already been out for a couple of days when we arrived there. Due to this reason we had no connectivity what so ever. A main concern during this was the teleconferencing between Japan and Singapore for the demo which was later decided to be done locally.

Shipped items

All the items for the projects were shipped to the NEC location on the previous Thursday via DHL expecting to be delivered by early Monday. However when we arrived at the NEC lab the items were still not available. Upon contacting DHL apparently there had been a mistake on the DHL Singapore side where they had not specified it to be an express delivery. Hence the items were being sent via local transport and had a difficult time in tracking. However with Yongsoon’s efforts we managed to have the items delivered at the NEC location by about 430pm. But to our disappointment, the foodprinter was quite damaged in few of the vulnerable points. The other items were relatively unharmed and the setting up of the projects started immediately.

Setting up

As I packed AmbiKraf to allow minimal set up, I could quickly set up AmbiKraf. However the base circuit was had a few problems which occurred during transportation which I fixed. I also had to do some small changes to the firmware since we had new fabrics with different ink actuation temperatures used for the demo. We could also fix the TV on to the table top using the brackets. Wei Jun managed to fix most of the problems on the food printer and managed to get it working to a good level! Upon fixing the calibration points for the moving table we were able to integrate all the projects together on the table. With some fine tuning, we were able to finalize the project integration for the demo.

Some of the pictures of the setting up are as follows

Setting up


Upon the setting up of the demo we were able to successfully test the system for any further issues. On the 9th March 2011 we had the demo. The presentation was led by prof and Veronica which was immediately followed by the demo of the system. Upon explaining the system we successfully demonstrated the functions of the system. Afterwards the participants were able to interact with the system and experience the co-dining system. This was followed by some Q&A. Some questions raised during the demo was on the use of the food printer and its future work.

Some pictures of the demo are as follows.

Demo presentation

Afterwards we had some interesting discussions with Yamada san and Kato san on their perspectives of the work. Overall they were happy with the deliverables and were impressed by the system. We further discussed about how subconscious communication is important in this context to identify what the actual users and participants feel when using such a system. We also discussed how such concepts are important when evaluating such a system. There were also mentionings about tea ceremonies and how the subconscious states of the actions and gestures of the tea master could relate to the subconscious actions of a co-dining system user. If one day we can achieve a point where the users of a co-dining system would naturally interact with the other party as if they would interact in a subconscious state in a normal situation that would be the ultimate achievement of this project.