- CHI -

Tim Gallati|Jingchen Gao|Xin Hu|Jiabao Li|Paul Reamey|Luna Yuan

Xiang Xu|Fahad Punjwani
This project was presented at MIT Hacking Art 2016, Second Place of all hacks.

TAI CHI is an exquisite martial art form that revives the body and the mind. It is a highly effective practice to give you all kinds of benefits. However, it is difficult to learn the movement without personal instructions. The movement in tai chi requires more than a mechanical routine but also the intentionality and the understanding of Chi, a higher abstract concept which represents the imaginary energy flow inside our body. So our team built "CHI" -- an interactive, virtual reality and tactile experience that teaches you Taichi.
For the first time, practitioners can learn and benefit from this ancient practice through immersion in virtual reality. We created a VR experience that guides the user through the moves of tai chi and also helps illustrate the abstract concept of chi. It provides tactile feedback on intentional movements and synthesizes cues from the real world environment to help with better concentration and to strengthen the effects of practice.

Practitioners are transported into a tranquil outdoor virtual environment that evokes a sense of peace. We enhance the art form by offering visualizations in the virtual reality of the performative aspects of Tai Chi. A live instrumentation of Guzhen, combined with the natural sound effect inside of VR to orient the users and give them the sense of place, and inner peace.

We captured the movement of a real tai chi master and converted it to an animated character in virtual reality. So we can show and give instructions during practice. You may stand behind the virtual master and follow his move or overlap his body with your avatar inside to pursue a more accurate movement.
The motion of CHI shows the users the flow of energy in the visualizations and how this mechanism works. The animation responds according to the performance of the user during the practice.

Our tactile suit prototype guides you by deploying tension and relief of the torso, midsections, and arms.
It is made up of a system of electromagnetic clutches that resist the user's muscles and create the feeling of physical resistance in virtual reality.
Physical Motions are mapped to the exosuit so that the overall system creates the feeling of manipulating physical matter. The electromagnetic clutch components are based on the concept that muscles in isometric contraction act as a combined clutch and spring.