Mutsugoto / Pillow Talk
a body-drawing communicator for distant partners
Tomoko Hayashi, Stefan Agamanolis, Ciaran McGrath
NOTE: The Mutsugoto project has been continued
and expanded at Distance
Lab, where a new version was produced starting in 2007 and
further exhibitions undertaken. Please see the Mutsugoto
page at Distance Lab for the most up-to-date information about
Mutsugoto is an intimate communication device placed in the bedroom
environment. Instead of exchanging e-mail or SMS messages using
generic interfaces in business-like venues, Mutsugoto allows distant
partners to communicate through the language of touch as expressed on
the canvas of the human body. A specialized computer vision and
projection system allows users to write or draw on their own bodies
while laying in bed. Drawings made by one partner are transmitted to
and revealed on the body of the remote partner.
Human intimacy is a significant but often neglected part of modern
life. More people now than ever carry on long distance relationships
with romantic partners, sometimes for extended periods of time.
However today's communication systems are impersonal and generic.
E-mail, for example, is often read and written on the same computer
and at the same desk that one uses for any other kind of
communication. Phone calls and SMS messages are sent and received
between partners on the same devices used for work and business.
Mutsugoto is a new kind of communication device meant to be used only
by romantic couples in long distance relationships. Breaking away
from traditional systems intended for operation by any pair of people
in any situation, the form and function of Mutsugoto is designed to
more strongly reflect the character of an intimate bond.
Mutsugoto is meant to be installed in the bedrooms of two remote
partners. Each partner lays on their bed and wears a special ring
that emits an infrared beacon, visible only to a camera mounted above.
A computer vision system tracks the movement of the ring finger and
projects virtual pen strokes on the user's own body. The silhouette
of the user is also captured and serves as the "canvas" for this
drawing. The completed drawing is transmitted to the remote site
where the same silhouette is projected softly on the bed. After
laying in the same position, the distant partner can reveal the
drawing by tracing their ring finger around their body. Special bed
linens and curtains were crafted to enhance the mood of this romantic
Publications and Links
Mutsugoto was installed in a special exhibition entitled Touch
Me at the Victoria and Albert
Museum in London, 16 June - 29 August 2005.
Tomoko's personal web site.