Human-scale systems in responsive environments

M. Kuzmanovic, N. Gaffney
2005 IEEE Multimedia  
M ost technologies are human centered, while also operating at a particular scale, from the microscopic (or even nanoscale) to the macroscopic (global scale). Artistic endeavors tend to converge on the human scale-they affect individuals and are valued for their peculiarities, rather than their generalizability for a mass market. Artists' work often involves subverting the original applications of technology (from consumer electronics to medical or military technologies), in order to extend its
more » ... use beyond the merely functional, into the realm of the social and the aesthetic. At FoAM, a laboratory dedicated to the entanglement of art and technology, we use and develop technologies at the human scale. At this scale, otherwise opaque technologies can become more comprehensible, meaningful, and capable of directly engaging users' attention and activity. Our work involves developing responsive environments influenced by technologies such as wearable computing, gestural instruments, sensor networks, permaculture, 1 and tensegrity structures. 2 In these environments, we're exploring a human-computer interaction (HCI) or human-computer-human interaction (HCHI) that discourages stimulus-response metaphors, relying instead on a more subtle negotiation between the human participants and the computational system. Unlike strict rule-based gaming environments, our environments facilitate conversational interaction models that can assume the shape of freeform playspaces. These environments are composed of media, materials, and architectures that are incorporated into public spaces, creating a tension between the real and imaginary, and between technological and biological systems. Sensing and the sensory HCI's history has been punctuated with ideas that challenge existing assumptions about what a computer is and what it can do. 3 The visionary concepts of people like Doug Engelbart and Alan Kay have yet to be fully integrated into systems that are capable of enhancing, but not disrupting, human activity in everyday reality. When dealing with the physical environment and nonsymbolic aspects of human interaction, many HCI methodologies relevant to screens or object-based systems can often appear misleading. Conventional HCI relies on a thin data 8
doi:10.1109/mmul.2005.6 fatcat:lihxdnf3ejhtnfuvfz7bgukagi