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updated: 13-11-2008

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Ryuta Kawashima
Department of Functional Brain Imaging
IDAC, Tohoku University

Title: Bridges between neuronimaging and society

We have been trying to create bridged between brain imaging research and society by Industry-University cooperative researches. All the products and systems relating to our daily life are perceived as stimuli by the senses, such as vision, hearing, touch, etc., and recognized as meaningful and connected to our actions or ideas. We believe we can evaluate the impact of the use of their products and systems on the human brain through scientific instrumentation centering on functional brain imaging and through psychological experiments, and study how to apply the findings to development of new products. We believe the scientific evaluation of such impact on the brain, particularly in the case of teaching or play materials and software for children, is indispensable, and we provide necessary information so that our proposed "human brain engineering" serves as a standard. On this line, we have created video games, such as Nintendo DS brain training series. We measured brain activity during playing those video games by near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRs), and confirmed significant activation of the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The beneficial effects on cognitive functions using those video games have been tested by several other investigators. Examples of those results will be introduced during my presentation.

About the Speaker
Dr. Ryuta Kawashima is a Professor of the Department of Functional Brain Imaging, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC), Tohoku University from 2006. His scientific interest is in functional brain mapping of higher cognitive functions of humans. He also has been paying his attention to return benefits of basic sciences to public, so that he has proposed systems for improvement of the prefrontal functions of humans by industry-university cooperation. He has won the Japan Society for Nuclear Medicine Award in 1996. His scientific output includes over 120 peer reviewed papers and the 100 books.

Professor Tomio Watanabe
Faculty of Computer Science and System Engineering
Okayama Prefectural University

Title: Human-Entrained Embodied Interaction and Communication Technology

In face-to-face conversation, embodied rhythms between speech and body movements such as nodding are mutually synchronized between talkers. This synchrony is called entrainment in communication, and it allows sharing of embodiment in human interaction, which plays an important role in human interaction and communication. With a focus on embodied entrainment, we have developed the embodied communication system for mind connection (E-COSMIC) by applying the entrainment mechanism of embodied rhythms of nodding and body movements to robots and CG characters in verbal communication. E-COSMIC comprises an embodied virtual communication system for human interaction analysis by synthesis and a speech-driven embodied interaction system for supporting essential human interaction and communication based on the analysis. A human-entrained embodied interaction and communication technology for an advanced media society is introduced through some applications of E-COSMIC. In order to produce embodied media that unify performers and audiences for supporting the creation of digital media arts for entertainment and education, we have also developed a technology that can be used to create and control human-entrained embodied media.

About the Speaker
Dr. Watanabe is a Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at Okayama Prefectural University and a research director of Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). He has developed the embodied communication system for mind connection (E-COSMIC) and is involved in the project “Generation and Control Technology of Human-entrained Embodied Media” of JST CREST. He received the Best Paper Award from IEEE RO-MAN in 1998 and 2003 and from the Human Interface Society in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. He is the immediate past president of the Human Interface Society and a member of the Standing Steering Committee of IEEE RO-MAN.