Alumni’s voice

Takahito Kobayashi (~2021.03)

What was your research?

I want to fly like an anime character! This was the basis of my study on creating the sensation of flight using a flowing water pool and an underwater HMD. Underwater has a buoyancy that is not found on land, and by using this buoyancy, I aimed to produce the feeling of floating in the air. I also aimed to produce the resistance of wind by using water flow. It was a good experience for me to challenge the field of underwater VR, which has not been studied much yet, and to try more and more things while moving forward step by step.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

The good thing about the laboratory is that we can freely decide our study theme. The environment and research support are excellent, and people with various backgrounds belong to the laboratory.
We can receive detailed advice from the faculties on how to incorporate what we want to do into our study, and we can set the study theme that we are passionate about.
As for the research environment, the faculties provide the latest equipment and large-scale devices if necessary, and also pay for conference fees and travel expenses. In addition, we can receive very kind and appropriate advice from the faculties and peers, and have very productive discussions where we can examine our proposals.
It was a free laboratory with more than enough of an environment that we highly recommend to anyone who wants to grow and do things.

Eiichi Hasegawa (~2021.03)

What was your research?

I have been conducting research on the effects of information presented on smart glasses on the user’s psychology and behavior. In the future, people may commute to work with smart glasses on and start working as soon as they arrive at the office. However, the effect of visual information presented on the smart glasses on the work after viewing has not been clarified. Therefore, I conducted various verifications of such effects. In one experiment, I showed that watching a fast/slow playing video presented on the smart glasses made participants work faster/slower after watching it. In another experiment, I showed that presenting participants with a human avatar running while riding a bicycle increased their work speed afterward. I look forward to seeing several information presentation systems that will improve work efficiency.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

The good thing about the laboratory is that students are free to pursue their research, and the faculties do their best to support them. Students do not have to work on a specified research theme or with a limited amount of equipment. Students can conduct any research they like based on their background and interests, and if necessary, the faculties provide the latest equipment. Therefore, students can carry out their research activities without any psychological or physical inconvenience. In addition, the faculties are always willing to listen to the students seriously, not only in regular meetings, so if the students are motivated, the students can go ahead with their research. I’m sure that if you come to our laboratory at the open campus or at any time, you will want to join the lab, so please come and visit the lab.

Kenta Higashi (~2021.03)

What was your research?

I was mainly engaged in research on conversations using XR technology. During my first year, I investigated whether the user feels conversation more enjoyable by seeing images displayed on an optical see-through HMD. The displayed images change corresponded to the results of recognizing the facial expressions of the conversation partners. As a result, although the HMD itself hindered the conversation due to the weight, the result suggested that the proposed system could improve the conversation partner impression. During my second year, I investigated satisfaction and alienation changes for conversation depending on the presence or absence of eye contact during a conversation using the VR system. Psychological research has shown that eye contact during a conversation plays a major role in impressions of the conversation partner and the conversation satisfaction. Therefore, I thought that by making it seem as if the conversation participant is looking at the user from time to time, the user might be satisfied with the conversation even though the user is not participating in the conversation. In the experiment, I used VR to recreate a video of two avatars having a conversation and made it appear as if the avatars were occasionally looking at the participants. As a result, there was no universal effect on whether they enjoyed the conversation or were satisfied with it due to individual differences. However, I was able to significantly improve the participants’ sense of being involved in the conversation.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

The laboratory is not a bureaucratic and free environment. Because of the proximity between faculty and students, I felt that there was an atmosphere in which it was easy to talk about anything, not only about research but also about job hunting and daily life. There is a wide range of research content and student backgrounds. Students can easily share various knowledge, so the laboratory was a very good environment for studying and researching specialized fields. In addition, the laboratory values the autonomy of the students. I was able to gain a variety of experiences, including research related to companies and studying abroad. I think the lab is a very comfortable environment for people who want to work hard at their own pace and run independently.

Cong Xi (~2021.03)

What was your research?

I was researching fire simulation. There are several systems that simulate fire in VR. On the other hand, if we can show the burning scene in the surrounding real space in AR, we can improve the users’ fire prevention awareness. I developed an AR fire simulator based on environment recognition. The system uses binocular cameras to acquire geometric and image information of the surrounding real space and uses them to create a fire simulation that reflects the surrounding environment’s characteristics. The accuracy of the system’s environment recognition is not yet good enough. However, I believe that by integrating the virtual and the real, I can make someone more aware of the importance of safe and secure living space.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

One of the best things about our laboratory is that we have a lot of freedom in our research. In our lab, we have emphasized autonomy. While we are working on research related to AR and VR, each of us is involved in various fields such as UI, optics, CG, psychology, robotics, etc. We can grow together with the members of the laboratory through discussion and study. We have many events in our lab, such as drinking parties, hackathons, GameJam, lab trips, etc., so we can have a fulfilling graduate school life. In addition, as an international student, I would like to say that everyone was very kind. During the two and a half years I was in the lab, my faculties, seniors, friends, juniors, and secretary helped me a lot in job hunting and daily life. Here, we don’t need to worry about studying in Japan.

Atsushi Kawabe (~2021.03)

What was your research?

Have you ever wanted to become something that you are not? There is a field of VR called telepresence, in which an experiencer can feel as if he or she has been transported to another person by a system that reproduces another person’s vision in VR. In my study, I aimed to reproduce a giant’s field of view (wide eye width and high viewpoint) using cameras installed on drones so that the experiencer can feel as if he or she is a giant. The proposed system supports him or her in performing the remote collaborative tasks. Although this was difficult to realize in today’s society, I enjoyed the trial-and-error process and the research I was able to conduct with the expectation that I would be able to utilize it in 10 to 20 years.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

A laboratory is a place where the autonomy of the student is respected. Research themes are decided based on students’ ideas and discussions with the faculties, so students are not forced to do research they do not want to do. In addition, all the necessary equipment and supplies for research are provided, and the latest VR equipment is actively used, so students can immerse themselves in research in a “self-initiated” environment. If you raise your hand, there are many opportunities to grow, such as open campus activities and study sessions with other students. When I was a student, students sometimes went out on weekdays or did research on weekends, and everyone had their own way of spending their time in the laboratory. I hope you can manage yourself well and enjoy your graduate school life.

Yuusuke Shikanai (~2021.03)

What was your research?

I studied the behavioral change caused by changing one’s appearance in a real environment. The Proteus effect, which is the behavioral change effect caused by the user’s appearance becoming an avatar in VR, is known to exist. I aimed to produce the effect in the real environment. I have developed Phantact, an AR system that presents the user with a third-person view in a real environment and shows the user’s image in the presented image as an avatar. I experimented with behavioral changes during the use of the proposed system in a posing task. The results suggest that the proposed system can produce the Proteus effect in the real environment.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

The laboratory has an open door policy. Students can feel free to talk with the faculties, as they are psychologically and physically close to the students. The laboratory has a flat culture with no hierarchical relationships based on age. I also believe that this is the best environment for those who have something they want to do as a research project because the students can propose the research proposals and discuss with the faculties to improve the proposals.

Masaki Koshi (~2020.03)

What was your research?

Have you ever worn earplugs or listened to music when you needed to concentrate on your work? It is believed that the reason for this is you can improve work efficiency by blocking auditory noise in the surrounding environment. In my research, I have proposed a method of extending this concept of auditory noise to the visual information in order to improve work efficiency. Specifically, I applied grayscale and blur processing to the surrounding environment, and magnification effects to focus more on the work area.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

There are many good points in our laboratory, but if I had to pick one, I would say that it is easy for people from other fields to join. When I was an undergraduate student, I majored in agriculture, and I was engaged in genetic modification and long-term culture of E. coli bacteria. The teachers are very approachable and the lab is well equipped with advanced facilities. This makes it easy for students with various backgrounds to get together and generate ideas.

Tatsuya Okubo (~2020.03)

What was your research?

I was developing a shopping support system to enable people with visual impairments to shop at a new store by themselves without anybody’s help. As a user walks through the store with a wearable camera, the proposed system automatically creates a map of the store, recognizing what is sold where, as well as predicting the map for the unobserved area. When the system finds the desired product location, it guides the user to the shelf by sound or tactile feedback. To achieve this, I used computer vision technologies such as Visual SLAM and deep learning-based object recognition. Experiments on the prototype system in a virtual environment have confirmed that it could help a user shop at a store without relying on visual information.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

There are many good things about the lab, but personally, it’s the atmosphere and comfort. You can get some equipment necessary for research and high-end PCs are distributed, so you can get exposed to VR and machine learning besides research. I can work on my research at my own pace since I can study at my discretion rather than being forced. Lastly, the teachers are very kind. They don’t coddle you, but gently guide you while beating your butt. They never denied me when I made a suggestion or said something at a meeting, and they thought seriously about it with me, which I really appreciated. It was such a comfortable lab life that I did not want to graduate.

Shido Okubo (~2020.03)

What was your research?

I created a Mirror Visual Feedback (MVF) system and studied the impact of the MVF on users. Five parameters, contrast, brightness, camera angle, facial expression, and posture, were used to manipulate self-image impressions, and the effect of MVF was tested by using an interview task. The results confirmed that although self-evaluation of the participants’ self-esteem decreased, their facial expressions and movements improved when the three parameters of contrast, brightness, and camera angle were manipulated to give a negative impression, their behavior was improved, and their interview ratings by a third person also increased.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

The good thing about the CARE Lab is that it’s an environment where you can do all the research you want to do! Students can take the initiative in research, from coming up with their own research plan to conducting experiments. In addition, all the professors are friendly, and they are always ready to help you out sometimes with jokes, so you can enjoy a safe and fulfilling research life. I hope you will pursue your research to the fullest!

Raphaël Verret / Bastien Germain (2010.10~2020.02, Interns)

What was your research?

In CARE Lab you are often needed to present your work and a lot of students might struggle with this exercise. So we thought of doing an application to help people improve their oral presentation skills. Using augmented reality we were able to simulate an audience using 3D avatars. The main goal of the project was for the user to receive real-time advice while using the application. We set up an external camera to analyse body position and give a feedback through icons to the user. We also used the microphone and eye-tracking functionalities of the HTC Vive to give feedback on those aspects too. The behaviour of the audience is then influenced by your performance (e.g. audience will start to talk between each other if you don’t look at them every so often).

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

As members of CARE Lab, we had access to a lot of VR/AR technology, amounting to an important budget. This is a huge asset in terms of opportunities for research. You’ll soon discover the diversity of subjects tackled by CARE members. But the lab’s main asset isn’t the technology, it’s the working environment and people. We work in an open space where everyone can easily talk and gather. When we arrived, we were greeted with a welcome party, and soon got to laugh with other members as everyone introduced themselves. Parties at CARE Lab are always a good time. Lastly, the teachers are available to talk frequently. They also keep a good track of every student’s work so they can give excellent advice.

Shingo Okeda (~2019.03)

What was your research?

I studied the transition method between reality and VR. My goal was a “realistic”  VR experience that does not feel fictional. The transition uses an omnidirectional video captured from the user’s point of view. This shows that it is possible to maintain the sense of being in present reality from the user’s viewpoint. This can be achieved with both low cost and high quality. In the experiment, I sought general and effective transition methods. I also worked on better experiment evaluation while collaborating with different professors in interdisciplinary fields.

What are some of the strong points of our laboratory?

I recommend this laboratory because of the comfortable, friendly and cozy atmosphere. The professors are friendly and always available for consultation on all matters. I was able to rely on this, and it greatly increased my research productivity. Additionally, research can be carried out on an individual level. Opportunities such as overseas collaborations and internships are also possible. I was able to do as much research as I wanted! I highly recommend this laboratory to students who are considering to join.

Shuhei Terada (~2019.03)

What was your research?

My research was about the development of a system to prevent overeating. It uses visual and tactile feedback. The aim was to give the illusion of satiety and reduce the amount of food consumed. This was done by using haptic and visual display devices to exaggerate three physical feedback points that are commonly available during meal consumption; abdominal swelling, abdominal skin tension, and abdominal weight. In the end, I was able to reduce the amount of food consumption by around 7% using the proposed system.

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

The good thing about this laboratory is that it is possible to greatly expand your range of knowledge because the members work in different research fields. In addition, equipment costing hundreds of thousands of yen, which can’t normally be obtained by ordinary students, is all over the laboratory. You can also study abroad or attend academic conferences related to your own research, with almost full financial support. With an environment this rich in human resources, equipment, opportunities, and assets, please challenge yourself and the very potential of science!

Frédéric Huynh (2018.09~2019.03, Intern)

What was your research?

Hi ! I’m Frédéric Huynh, former international intern in CARE Lab. I was an embedded system student back in France and I got the chance in the lab to explore the possibilities brought by the Microsoft AR headset : Hololens. My work was to come up with an AR user interface that would label every reality objects in the user’s field of view. The application of the research could be for factory work, each piece would have its name, description, id and tutorial for example.

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

I enjoyed my 6 months stay in Japan. One of the big reasons was because the lab is like a big family. We help each other, have fun together. They are very welcoming so don’t hesitate to go and talk to them about anything. Japan has a unique vibe that you can only experience yourself when you are there, so go ahead and come !

Etienne Juif (2018.06~2018.09, Intern)

What was your research?

Hello, my name is Etienne Juif and I was an intern at CARELab in 2018. I was coming from a school focused on combining Art and Sciences. I joined the lab because I wanted to try to add the Virtual Reality to this formula and to create some experiences around it! I created with Unity a painting application in Mixed Reality allowing you to draw, create shapes and cut objects around yourself.
https://github.com/JuifEtienne/StrangePerception

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

It’s an awesome place. I was afraid to leave France but CARELab’s members were really helpful and made this adventure really easy! If you want to experiment things in VR, you will have everything you need to work and people will listen to you and try to find solution to let you achieve your projects. Also, it’s really fun to be able to talk with people in the Laboratory, you will meet a lot of diverse people and it’s amazing to exchange with them. One of my best memories was when someone tested my application, created an obstacle course in the Lab and tried it! You can trust them, they are really good!

Nguyen Hien Minh (2018.05~2018.08, Intern)

What was your research?

Hello, my name is Minh, and I was an intern at CARE Lab along with my friend Moha, in 2018. We wanted to be able to convert in real-time a photo taken during the night to one that seemed to have been taken during the day. The project consisted in programming a robot to gather a dataset of a same scene during the day and the night, and then train a Pix2pix neural network using this dataset. You can find a preview/demo of our project here:
https://github.com/minh-n/NightfallProject

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

I had a wonderful time during my three months in the lab. My recommendation for future students: the lab is an awesome and cozy place, the teachers are friendly and helpful and the students are very nice! Go talk to people, go visit all the places you want and please enjoy your stay in Japan!

Takuya Mizoguchi (~2018.03)

What was your research?

The master’s research theme was the “Proposal of top-down segmentation method for printed dot-matrix characters.” An example of dot-matrix characters includes characters printed on PET bottles to indicate the expiration date of a product. The research aim was the feature extraction of single characters from an image capturing printed dot-matrix characters. If you’re interested, please take a look at my master’s thesis.
(http://isw3.naist.jp/IS/MasterThesis/2017/abst1803/165102.html ).

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

In a nutshell, you can do a variety of things in this laboratory if you’re motivated. Since the CARE lab was established just a few years ago, I think it is relatively easy to propose your own idea and get approved as your research theme. Also, being able to receive accurate feedback on your research from faculty members with interdisciplinary knowledge was very attractive. So, for those willing to put in the effort, including undergraduate students interested in VR/AR research, please join and enliven the CARE lab!

Humberto Trujillo Perez (2017.10~2017.12, Intern)

What was your research?

My name is Humberto Trujillo, in 2017 I was a master’s degree student in Mexico when I got the opportunity to do an internship at NAIST’s CARE Lab. My research was initially focused on the development of a low cost wireless real-time motion capture system based on inertial measurement unit sensors and its integration in VR/AR environments. During my internship, I got the chance to collaborate with other fellow research students and worked on a motion pattern recognition and classification model that would later be used to classify different types of racket movements in the sport of Badminton with high accuracy.
https://github.com/humberto-trujillo/MotionCapture
https://github.com/humberto-trujillo/IMU_GestureClassifier

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

As a foreign student, I was surprised by how welcoming and friendly both teachers and students are. Teachers are very experienced and knowledgeable in many different areas, and always willing to offer their help. The students are nice and really easy to establish good communication with. I enjoyed staying late in the lab playing video games or going out for dinner with them. I really liked the weekly meeting format where all students present the progress on their research, it is the perfect place to learn something new and receive constructive feedback about your work.

Thiwat Rongsirigul (~2017.09)

What was your research?

Got a series of photos? Wish it could be a 3D Virtual Reality (VR) environment? My research can help you do that! Firstly we need a 3D model. Using an existing technique, we can “reconstruct” a 3D model from our series of photos. Secondly, the texture. From the same series of photos we used earlier, we can either create a static texture beforehand or dynamically map the best texture to the model on the fly. A dynamically mapped texture will give better result since the lighting and shadow which depends on the viewer’s viewing direction, view-dependent, are better recreated. However, view-dependent texture mapping (VDTM) is an expensive operation. Existing VDTM solutions simply cannot produce high enough frames per second (FPS) required to create a good VR experience. That’s where my research came in. Even though VR requires 2 frames to be rendered at once, those 2 frames are very similar. We can reuse the majority of the first frame to render the second frame. We can also limit to only use photos taken from a similar angle to the viewer’s viewing direction to speed up the process even more. Using my proposed VDTM technique combined with the power of a graphic card (GPU) help us achieve over 90 FPS in VR.

What are some of the strong points of this laboratory?

CARE lab isn’t like the kind of boring laboratory environment you would imagine. At CARE lab everyone is friendly, joyful, and energetic. We have a cozy relax space, a big screen super spec projector, lots of fancy AR/MR/VR equipment, a snack bar, and wide-open laboratory space. The professors are super friendly and easy to get in touch and talk to. Also, don’t worried about your Japanese, just use English!. This is an international laboratory you will have no problem fitting in here. Too bad I didn’t have much opportunity to do any serious research work here. As I’m the first generation of students that was transferred from the old laboratory. By the time CARE lab came in, I already finished all my research work and was about to graduate. Wish I could do my research in this cozy environment from the beginning as a CARE lab member. I highly recommend you to come to enjoy what I have missed, here at CARE lab!