Shadows utilized as method of communication
Japan being the country with the highest saturation of cellphone subscribers in the world is surely also one of the most connected societies around. I suppose this mode of communication is not enough, as Japanese researchers are currently working on shadows (yes, those pesky things that follow you in the presence of light) in order to come up with a non-intrusive method of keeping in touch with friends. This system will be known as Teleshadow, and it streams a video of whatever you’re doing at home over to your friend’s house via the Internet. No idea on why anyone would want to have their privacy invaded in such a manner, and it surely sounds as though this method is three steps behind current video calls made using the help of a webcam.
The person on the other end, however, won’t be able to catch you in full technicolor as only shadow outlines will be transmitted. According to creator Shunpei Yasuda, the Teleshadow system will fill a niche between live video and static images. Sounds pretty much like artistic talk to me with no real practical value. Mr. Yasuda further iterated that this inspiration was drawn from Japanese history, where paper walls traditionally divided some rooms, creating a thin veil of privacy where shadows acted as a reminder of a person’s presence.
In the same manner, the Teleshadow system is meant to preserve privacy while reinforcing presence between rooms that are far apart rather than next door. At the base of the lamp contains a projector that receives input from a video camera that Teleshadow users have at home, and the integrated software will process and reduce the video input to an outline, making the results look like a projected shadow as intended. This square lamp is also capable of showing the shadow antics of up to another three friends. Smart cards inserted into the base of the lamp helps it identify individual users who are taking part in the entire process. I guess there is a lot of novelty attached to this for those who are unfamiliar with Japanese culture.