Posts Tagged 'Sony CSL'

12 Pixels is on Sony Ericsson new phone.


Sony Ericsson included 12Pixels as a standard feature of its new mobile phone.

12Pixels is an interface and application that allows creating and sharing sophisticated pixel art drawings using just 12 keys of a mobile phone. We developed it at Sony CSL.

Cedar™ is exactly the type of mobile phone that we had in mind for 12Pixels: an affordable candybar-shaped handset designed to be used anywhere in the world in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and Americas. Somehow we keep forgetting that more then 80% of mobile phone users do not use smart phones with touch screens! It is phones like Cedar™ that connect majority of people to each other.

In addition to 12Pixels Cedar™  has impressive specs including web access, 3G modem, nice color screen, camera and Facebook integration.

BBC reported on my haptics research.


BBC news web site ran a feature on haptics and interaction with flexible displays entitled “Haptics brings a personal touch to technology“. The story was based heavily on my previous work on TouchEngine and Gummi and I had a lot of great quotes in the article. Our recent projects here in Disney Research were also briefly mentioned.

Daniel Leithinger joins Interaction Group.

Daniel Leithinger has joined Interaction Group at DRP until the end of summer.

Daniel has just started his Ph.D. at MIT Media Lab in Tangible Media group. I quite liked his Master graduation project Relief which falls into the same broad category of deformable interactive surfaces as Lumen that I built few years ago when I was at Sony.

Relief takes a rather unique approach to designing and interacting with such surfaces and the results look quite good. The project was demonstrated at ARS Electronica this year.

12Pixels paper gets an award at Pervasive 2010.

A paper on 12Pixels project was presented at Pervasive 2010 Conference in Helsinki.

A title of the paper was “12Pixels: Exploring Social Drawing on Mobile Phones” and the entire paper can be downloaded from here.

The paper was presented in Helsinki by Karl Willis and he did an excellent job presenting it. In fact he received a Best Presentation Award! Unfortunately, I had to stay in Pittsburgh and could not attend the conference and see his presentation.

12Pixels in Tokyo Interactive Ad Awards!

12Pixels was awarded a Bronze Prize in the application category of Tokyo Interactive Ad Awards! Tokyo Interactive Ad Awards is a prestigious design competition for digital media advertisement in Japan. 12Pixels got an award both for the web site and for it’s promotion campaign developed by Imaginative Inc.

The idea of promotion was to let people to produce their own physical accessories by drawing them with 12Pixels first and then submitting for production. It was cute. A full list of awards can be found here.

12Pixels hits 20000 downloads!


12Pixels service hits 20000 uploads!

This means that 20000 pixel drawings have been created and uploaded on SonyStyle 12Pixels web site. It took us approximately a year to achieve this number and although its tiny when compared to PC-based services for user-generated content, it is nevertheless a significant achievement for such a niche application as pixel-art drawing tool and sharing service for mobile phones.

The drawings created by 12Pixels users continue to amaze me. Below is a collection of some of the drawings that were uploaded to 12Pixels web server. The current stream of drawings can be experienced here.

Olivier Bau joins Interaction Group.

Olivier Bau has just joined Interaction group at Disney Research Pittsburgh. He is planning to stay with us for about eight months. Olivier is currently a Ph.D. candidate with In|Situ group at INRIA/LRI in Paris. I worked with Olivier before, when he spent about 3 months in 2005 at Sony CSL in Tokyo as a summer intern.

Lumen on Make blog and Gizmodo.

After my presentation at Dorkbot Pittsburgh a really nice write-ups on Lumen appeared on Make and then Gizmodo tech blogs. So, here we go, my five milliseconds of internet techblog fame are here on Make blog and here on Gizmodo. Thanks to them Lumen video has become the most watched video in my personal YouTube video collection.

Good bye Sony!

After working in Sony Computer Science Laboratories and living in Tokyo for 9 years, I am leaving Sony and Japan and moving to the US to start at Walt Disney Corporation. August 10, 2009 was my last day at work.

I have mixed feelings about leaving. It is certainly a sad moment for me. Sony CSL provided an outstanding research environment which has been both very encouraging and highly challenging. I received full support,  e.g. funding has never been an issue, but in return I was requested to challenge myself both intellectually and creatively.

I very much appreciated that Sony CSL had strong and clear philosophy on what is research and how it should be done. Overall vision and goals were always very clear. I find this to be a very rare quality in research organizations which often tend to be somewhat amorphous. I strongly believe that it is because of this clear focus and vision that Sony CSL was able to remain one of the most original, exciting and creative research collectives in the world.

The intellectual level of people I was working with was extremely high. Working with Jun Rekimoto, the head of IL,  and Mario Tokoro, the President of CSL,  has been an amazing opportunity to learn the art of inventing and craft of selecting ideas worth implementing. I spent countless hours discussing and debating which allowed me to understand much deeper the meaning of research, design and technology. I can clearly see now that nine years in Sony CSL shaped me as a researcher and that when I first arrived to Sony CSL I had no clue about anything.

Saying that, I am also excited to try myself in a new environment. I have never worked in American company and have never directed a group. Walt Disney is probably the most iconic American company in the US and I will be running a small research team creating new interaction technologies. Its an exciting opportunity to take things that I learned in Sony and apply them in a different environment. And also I am happy to stay in industry.

I am really grateful for the opportunity that Sony and Sony CSL gave me and I am really thankful to everyone for supporting and enduring me for these 9 years!

Mario Tokoro, President of Sony CSL.

Natalia and Jun Rekimoto, head of Interaction Laboratory.

Embarassing myself on Japanese TV.

I love Japanese TV. I think its great. That is why I was absolutely thrilled when an opportunity came to publicly embarrass myself on a proper TV talk show, with proper Japanese TV celebrities and broadcast all over Japan.

We did two segments at Watch-Me!TV (ワッチミー!TV) about 12Pixels Color, which was ran on two consecutive weeks. Watch-Me!TV is a late night show produced by Fuji TV station and hosted by Marie (マリエ) , a well known TV personality in Japan. One of the segment, the least embarrassing one, is embedded below.

You can also check segments in the order of broadcast starting with first segment followed by second segment part 1 and part 2.

Are not we all beautiful here?
From let to right Neeko, Tezuka-san from Sony Marketing, me and Marie. Karl Willis is in front.


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