Touch Table Project: Interview with Lance Castillo

UCSD PRIME students Lance Castillo and Wesley Hsu spent the summer in Japan designing and implementing an interactive touch table featuring MOPA's hand selected photography collection.  The touch table, My Gallery 対話型  (Interactive), premiered in Osaka, Japan at the Knowledge Capital Trial Event. The students worked with three partners: MOPA, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), and the Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experience (PRIME) program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).  See my blog post from September 14th for more information about our collaboration and the project.

We took a moment to talk to Lance Castillo about his experience. 

What attracted you to the project? Why work on a touchscreen interface, and 
why do it in Japan?

From what I could tell in the anime shows that I watched, Japan seemed like a very magical and wonderful place. The fact that I could combine visiting Japan and working on something that I love to do was just too hard to pass up.

How did you manage to work with three different partners in different locations 
and time zones?

Cisco has a video conferencing website called WebEx that allowed us to see and hear each other's thoughts and opinions. It turned out to be a great asset since writing emails back and forth would have been a disaster.

What was it like living and working at NICT Keihanna Research Laboratories?

Working at the Keihanna Research Laboratories was really awesome. Being able to use and work with the latest visual technologies was great.

What was a favorite moment or experience in Japan?

My favorite experience in Japan was taking the Shinkansen to visit Tokyo and subsequently, Hiroshima. Watching all the wonderful scenes of Japan fly by at super fast speeds was pretty exhilarating.

What was your favorite food in Japan?

My favorite food in Japan was the rice bowl that I had near the Osaka aquarium. It was a bowl of rice topped by fresh slices of salmon and avocado. It sounds simple, but it tasted phenomenal.

How did this experience affect your ideas of museum work or photography?

No offense, but I never really was interested in museum work or photography before this experience. This project opened my eyes to all the different possibilities that can happen when you combine museum photography with technology. It becomes a whole new ball game because the user is more involved and, in my case, more interested in interacting with the art on a whole new level.

For now, enjoy the photos and video and get a sneak peak of what will be coming to MOPA soon!