© Yuichiro Katsumoto, Keio-NUS CUTE Center

15th Entertainment Division Excellence Award

Phase Transition-ish Apparatus

Toy [Japan]



This is a series of electronic toys created with the intention of giving rise to digital media that are constantly changing, both physically and in terms of information, like the “change of state” from ice to water to steam. There are two products in the line-up: Ninja Track, which has an interface featuring diverse changes of shape and flexibility, and Catapy, a mini-car that can be played with in a variety of ways, according to how it is combined and transformed.

Reason for Award

Electronic toys transcending the boundary between hardware & software
Connected by hinges in all directions, these playthings change shape freely: a limp whip transforms into a sword with the push of a button; bending a recorder makes it a saxophone or even an instrument. Their special structures, embedded with sensors and servomotors, brim with inventiveness and playfulness. Naming the project “Phase Transition-ish Apparatuses,” a nod to “phase transitions” like the transformation of liquid water into solid ice, suggests the artist’s interest in rethinking the nature of information and material. Such reformation of the technology hierarchy may bring dynamic change to art in the future. Also worthy of high praise is the project’s pursuit, in the face of the recent supremacy of display-based moving images, of that “tactility” so fundamental to playthings. This project inspires hope for the invention of new art devices in the future.