Prof. Susumu Tachi
University of Tokyo, Japan
Professor Susumu Tachi received his B.E., M.E., and Ph.D. degrees in mathematical engineering and information physics from the University of Tokyo in 1968, 1970, and 1973, respectively.
He joined the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tokyo in1973, and in 1975, he moved to the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Tsukuba Science City, Japan, where he served as the Director of the Remote-Control Division and the Biorobotics Division. From 1979 to 1980, Dr. Tachi was a Japanese Government Award Senior Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA. In 1989, he rejoined the University of Tokyo, and served as a Professor at the Department of Information Physics and Computing till March 2009. In April 2009, he moved to Keio University, where he served as a Professor of Graduate School of Media Design and the Director of the International Virtual Reality Center till March 2015. From April 2015 to March 2020, he conducted the JST ACCEL “Embodied Media” research project at the Tachi Laboratory, Institute of Gerontology, The University of Tokyo, as Research Director. In January 2017, he founded and became Chairman of Telexistence, Inc. Prof. Tachi was conferred Professor Emeritus of The University of Tokyo in June 2009.
Currently, he continues his research and activities for the dissemination and social implementation of virtual reality and telexistence at the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, and the Institute of Gerontology of the University of Tokyo.
One of his early scientific achievements is the invention (1975) and development of an intelligent mobile robot system for the blind called Guide Dog Robot (1976-1983), which is the first of its kind. This system is known as MELDOG.
In 1980, Dr. Tachi invented the concept of telexistence, which enables a highly realistic sense of existence in a remote place without any actual travel, and has been working on the realization of telexistence since then.
Telexistence is a fundamental concept that refers to the general technology that allows a human being to have a real-time sensation of existing in a place other than where he/she actually exists and to interact with the remote environment, which may be real, virtual, or a combination of both. It also refers to an advanced type of teleoperation system that enables an operator at the controls to perform remote tasks dexterously with the feeling of existing in a surrogate robot working in a remote environment. Telexistence in the real environment through a virtual environment is also possible.
Telexistence became the fundamental guiding principle of the eight-year Japanese National Large-Scale Project, “Advanced Robot Technology in Hazardous Environments (1983-1990).” Through this project, he made theoretical considerations, established systematic design procedures, developed experimental hardware telexistence systems such as TELESAR, and demonstrated the feasibility of the concept.
Prof. Tachi led several large projects, which include National Study on a Priority Scientific Area of Virtual Reality (Fundamental Study on Virtual Reality: Generation of Virtual Space and Human Interfaces for Virtual Environments) (1995-1999) as the project leader, National Large Scale Project on Humanoids and Human Friendly Robotics (HRP) (1998-2003) as the project sub-leader, CREST Project on Telexistence Communication Systems (2000-2006) as the research director, and CREST Project on Haptic Media (2009-2015) as the research director. He recently led ACCEL project on Embodied Media (2014-2019) as the research director.
Prof. Tachi is a founding director and a fellow of the Robotics Society of Japan (RSJ), the 46th President and a fellow of the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers (SICE), a fellow of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME), and is the founding President of the Virtual Reality Society of Japan (VRSJ).
From 1987 to 2018, he served as Chairman of the IMEKO (International Measurement Confederation) Technical Committee 17 on Measurement in Robotics, and organized several ISMCR (International Symposium on Measurement and Control in Robotics) conferences.
He initiated and founded ICAT (International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence) in 1991 and IVRC (International-collegiate Virtual Reality Contest) in 1993. He was a member of IEEE VR Steering Committee from 1998 to 2017, and served as General Chair of IEEE VR 2001, 2002 and 2015.
Dr. Tachi has received a number of awards including IEEE EMBS Outstanding Paper Award (1983), IEEE VR Best Paper Awards (2001, 2004), ICAT Best Paper Awards (2000, 2004), RSJ Transaction Paper Award (1987), SICE Transaction Paper Award (1990), RSJ Technology Award (1991), VRSJ Transaction Paper Awards (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2012), TIME Magazine Coolest Invention (2003), Laval Mayenne Awards (2003, 2005), Good Design Award (2006), ASIAGRAPH Takumi Award (2007), VRSJ Distinguished Contribution Award (2006), RSJ Founding Contribution Award (2012), Japan Minister of International Trade and Industry Prize (1988), Japan Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Prize (2011), Governor of Tokyo Prize (2011), IMEKO Distinguished Service Award (1997), and IEEE Virtual Realty Career Award (2007). Dr. Tachi was inducted into the inaugural class of the IEEE Virtual Reality Academy in 2022, and he is the the first recipient of the Research Achievement Award established in 2022 by the Virtual Reality Society of Japan.