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Real-World-Oriented Interaction between Humans and Microorganisms


Recent progress in computer technologies has enabled us to interact with people in distance or in virtual spaces. It is still almost impossible, however, to interact with existences in the world with different scales. Though demand for interaction with microscopic world is more and more increasing according to the development of micro-bio technologies, peering into the microscope is still the only interface for the micro world, whose useability is extremely low.

We would like to propose a novel interface to link the micro and macro world by removing the wall of scale. For its first step, here we propose a system which allows us to experience equivalent physical interaction with microorganisms like playing with your pets.

Focusing on real-world-oriented interaction, we use a small robot as an avatar, or the substantialized entity embodying the status of the microorganism. A human and a cell in react with each other via this robot. The position, attitude and other status of the cell are measured and processed in real-time by Tracking Microscope and sent to the robot. The robot moves as if the cell appears in our macro world. Conversely, when the user touches or approaches the robot, the information is detected by several sensors, and feed some actions back to the cell by galvanotaxis actuation and so on. Thus bilateral interaction loop is formed, and a kind of real-time communication between the cell and the user is established. The ethernet will also enable us to communicate with cells even in other continents.

Interaction between microorganisms and humans.


  1. Naoko Ogawa, Takeshi Hasegawa, Hiromasa Oku, and Masatoshi Ishikawa. Control of Avatar Robot Interface toward Real-World-Oriented Interaction with Microorganisms. Interaction 2008 (Tokyo, Japan, 3 Mar. 2008) / Proceedings, 0077, Mar. 2008. [PDF (311KB)] *IPSJ
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Corresponding author: Naoko Ogawa (Naoko_Ogawa)
Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory, Department of Information Physics and Computing, Department of Creative Informatics,
Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo
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