Passepartout is a European consortium within which V2_Lab has contributed to the development of future scenarios for interactivity and the personalization of technology.


Thecla Schiphorst

In order to integrate knowledge about interactive TV in the Netherlands with the new generation of digital TV and Blu-ray (next-generation DVDs), in 2004 Philips decided to put together a Dutch consortium that would contribute to interactive TV’s underlying technologies and applications, in cooperation with an international consortium. The household environment of the future is likely to be an intelligent one, with computerized machines and furniture. The Dutch consortium consists of five parties: Stoneroos, CharToon, Eindhoven University of Technology, CWI and V2_.

Philips, the “end demonstrator,” defined an ambient multimedia platform in which various monitors, portable and nonportable projection screens, and multiple users were integrated in the same home network. Out of its interest in the interdisciplinary research field encompassing ambient intelligence, affective computing and HCI (human-computer interaction), V2_ focused on the following aspects:

  • future interaction and personalization scenarios,
  • social interaction via technology, and
  • mobile multimodal communication.

For this project, V2_ has been working closely with the partners CWI and TU/e and with artist Thecla Schiphorst and the Whisper Research Group at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.


Joint work was done on the design of a prototype and an interactive artwork, a sensor- implanted pillow completely designed and developed (hardware and software) at the V2_Lab. The prototype formed the basis for multiple applications.

The pillow was introduced to the international consortium as an alternative human-machine interface that broke with the traditional image of an interface (computer mouse, TV remote control). The sensors in the pillow reacted to pressure, movement and orientation. Signals issuing from interaction with the pillow could be transmitted to various media that were located within the pillow itself (light, vibrations and sounds) or, for example, controlled various media systems. Further research in 2006 resulted in a third prototype that enabled interaction with, and between, multiple pillows. Attention was specifically devoted to emergent behaviors and different interaction models. The artist Thecla Schiphorst subsequently developed a concept in which multiple pillows, or soft objects, were used in an interactive installation, Soft[n].

Soft[n] won the European consortium’s Golden Demo Award in February 2007.

Development of SIOS

V2_recently developed the portable Sensor Input/Output System (SIOS) for various kinds of modular portable wireless devices. SIOS is a sort of minicomputer to which various types of sensors can be attached for use with portable technology applications. Hardware and software have both been developed and will be repeatedly reused and further expanded. The system plan is available in a free do-it-yourself instruction packet on our website, but in most cases V2_ will assemble systems on request for specific artistic applications. Because the system is arranged very flexibly and generically, it can be further refined with new application possibilities for each project.


Read more about the SIOS at

Passepartout is part of the European ITEA program and is subsidized in the Netherlands by SenterNovem.

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