Swimming Across the Pacific
Swimming as a Novel Paradigm for Virtual Environment Navigation
In 2004, I was a research assistant on the Swimming Across the Pacific project of the Human Communication Technologies (HCT) Research Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) under the supervision of Dr. Sidney Fels.
Swimming Across the Pacific originated in 1999 as a collaboration among the Italian artist Alzek Misheff, Sidney Fels, and the Japanese artist Sachiyo Takahashi. The project began as a follow-up to Misheff’s Swimming Across the Atlantic (1982) performance, where the artist swam in the pool of the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 for five days as the ship sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from England to New York City. The concept of Swimming Across the Pacific modernized the performance by substituting a novel virtual reality swimming interface for the cruise ship’s pool and moved the performance to an airplane flying across the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver to Tokyo. While the actual performance has yet to take place, the swimming interface has been part of a long-term research project.
During my tenure, I provided software enhancements, optimizations, stability, and general code cleanup, which was focused mainly on the OpenGL rendering engine. I also helped prepare and exhibit the virtual swimming platform at SIGGRAPH 2004 (Los Angeles) and Imagina 2005 (Monaco).
I am associated with the following publications related to this research project.
- Sidney Fels, Steve Yohanan, Sachiyo Takahashi, Yuichiro Kinoshita, Kenji Funahashi, Yasufumi Takama, and Grace Tzu-Pei Chen (2005). User Experiences with a Virtual Swimming Interface Exhibit. In ICEC 2005: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Entertainment Computing, pages 433-444,Sanda, Japan, September 19-21 2005. [doi:10.1007/11558651_42]
- Sidney Fels, Yuichiro Kinoshita, Tzu-Pei Grace Chen, Yasufumi Takama, Steve Yohanan, Sachiyo Takahashi, Ashley Gadd, and Kenji Funahashi (2005). Swimming Across the Pacific: A VR Swimming Interface. In IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, volume 25, number 1, pages 24-31, Jan-Feb 2005. [doi:10.1109/MCG.2005.20]