In designing for bodily experiences, there has been a lack of theories that can provide the underpinnings we need to understand and deepen our design thinking. Despite all the work we have seen on designing for embodiment (Dourish, 2004, and others), the actual corporeal, pulsating, live, felt body has been notably absent from both theory and practical work. At the same time, digital products have become an integral part of the fabric of everyday life, the pleasures (and pains) they give, their contribution to our social identity, or their general aesthetics are now core features of their design. We see more and more attempts to design explicitly for bodily experiences with digital technology, but it is a notably challenging design task. With the advent of new technologies, such as biosensors worn on your body, interactive clothes, or wearable computers such as mobiles equipped with accelerometers, a whole space of possibilities for gesture-based, physical and body-based interaction is opened.
Some claim that the technologies we wear today treat our bodies in a negative way:
“Electronics, robotics, and spintronics invade and transform the body and, as a consequence of this, the body becomes an object and loses its remaining personal characteristics, those characteristics that might make us consider it as the sacred guardian of our identity.”-- Longo, 2003
How can we do a better job in interaction design involving our bodies — the sacred guardians of our identity? This is where I think Shusterman’s theories of somaesthetics are relevant.
Aarhus Denmark, 2012.