The sense of touch is the recognition of the mechanical interaction between the body and the physical world and depends not only on the object touched but also on one's own skin characteristics, motor control, and cognitive processing. This study aims to investigate individual differences in tactile sensations based on these interrelationships, clarify the principles of tactile perception, and informationize subjective tactile sensations. The sense of touch is involved not only in texture, but also in motion, body recognition, and emotion, and can be applied in all situations involving the body. The goal of this study is to create a society where the diverse sensory worlds within individuals can be shared and utilized, and skills and sensibilities can be abundantly created.
In information systems, input/output interface technology, which is the contact point between the systems and humans and/or the real world, is an important component along with computation, storage, and communication. According to the development of AI, it is now possible to sense/capture real-world phenomena from multiple perspectives, and to control robots and autonomous systems utilizing the results of computation, analysis, and decision-making, as feedbacks to the real world. In particular, the development of the understanding of vision and auditory information technologies have been enabled high-speed, high-quality remote communication and casual interaction between humans and machines. The next frontier of the five human senses is said to be the sense of touch, and lots of technology have been developed. However, the research on the theory of tactile perception has only just begun to be elucidated, and there are no innovative methods and devices that can serve as an infrastructure for society.
Yoshihiro Tanaka's research proposal aims to understand tactile perception from informatics points of view, and to informatize an individual's sense of touch. He regards tactile sensing as the perception of mechanical interaction between the human body and the external world. He approaches it from the understanding of the dynamics of the skin that is touching the objects, the mutual control properties of touch and motion, and cognitive properties that perform information filtering. It is an ambitious concept that aims phenomenologically to establish technologies to capture, modulate, measure, represent, and share tactile perception. By pioneering the theory underlying haptic perception and developing the related technology, it is hoped that information systems will acquire multimodal interactions and bring about innovations in telecommunications and AI. Dr. Tanaka has been engaged in research and development to quantify and utilize an individual's sense of touch and has achieved significant research results through his creative approach, including the characteristics of skin, movement characteristics, and cognitive characteristics regarding sensitivity, movement, texture, and comfort. With this proposal, he aims to clarify these fragmented studies into an integrated manner, and he is one of the few researchers who have initiated clues to elucidate the principles of haptic perception.
Dr. Tanaka is an up-and-coming researcher who is leading the new era of tactile perception research. With the support of the InaRIS Fellowship, the distribution of subjective information through tactile perception and non-verval understanding of others will progress throughout his research period of the next decade. He is expected to create a horizon of informatics based on the haptics perception. It is hoped that the use of tactile sensation will promote respect for diversity and co-creation with others, and contribute to the construction of a society in which sensibility and techniques are richly created and passed down.
Message from Fellow
I feel grateful and have a sense of responsibility for the opportunity to thoroughly explore the sense of touch. Through this research, I would like to step into the essence of people's diversity, self, and creativity. Although I am both excited and anxious about what perspectives I will be looking at in 10 years, I would like to pursue my own interests while striving for co-creation through interdisciplinary exchange and collaborative research.