3D scanning technologies provide designers with tools to generate a digital representation of the human body that can be used in the design of ultra-personalized apparel and wearables. However, prior work shows that the body scanning process can be an uncomfortable experience for users. In this work, we take a first-person perspective to identify frictions in the experience of being body scanned compared to having one's body measurements taken by a professional tailor. Based on our findings, we offer a reframing of body scanning as a collaborative process, and discuss implications for the design of tools and processes that shift agency in the generation of body data towards users. Our paper is relevant to design researchers and practitioners interested in taking a co-design approach to ultra-personalization.
We report on a workshop bringing together researchers working in soma design and sensory misalignment. Creating experiences that make use of sensory misalignment has become increasingly common, often associated with virtual reality research. However, little attention has been paid to how to design such experiences. We argue that the practice of soma design is a relevant candidate method for designing misalignment experiences, since soma design brings with it concepts such as estrangement and disrupting the habitual as a path to design. We further argue that sensory misalignment may in turn extend soma design methods, adding methods for explicitly disrupting sensory perception using technology interventions. Finally, we draw on the findings of that workshop to discuss the ideas of: pluralism in experience; orchestration of overall experience; as well as the broader intersection of soma design and sensory misalignment approaches.
Somaesthetics — motivated by improving life quality via appreciation for bodily and sensory experiences — is increasingly influencing HCI designs. Investigating the potential of drones as a material for somaesthetic HCI, we designed Drone Chi: a Tai Chi-inspired close-range human-drone interaction experience. The design process for Drone Chi has been informed by the soma design approach and the Somaesthetic Appreciation concept from HCI literature. The artifact expands somaesthetic HCI by exemplifying dynamic and intimate somaesthetic interactions with a robotic design material, and body movements in expansive 3D space. To characterize the Drone Chi experience, we conducted an empirical study with 32 participants. Analysis of participant accounts revealed 4 themes that articulate different aspects of the experience: Looping Mental States, Environment, Agency vs. Control, and Physical Narratives. From these accounts and our craft knowledge, we derive 5 design implications to guide the development of movement-based close-range drone interactions.
How is ethics shaped by the particularities of a design? Through a detailed video analysis, we explore how ethicality is shaped in interaction between a choreographer, a performer and a choir of five drones, performing together on the opera stage. We pinpoint how movements enabled by the human-drone assemblage may limit or liberate artistic expressions vis-à-vis the norms of operatic performance. From a somaesthetics perspective on ethics, we show how the process of crafting rich experiences together with drones can deepen sensory appreciation skills, leading to an increased understanding of underlying somatic drivers and imposed norms. Somatic awareness thereby enables a richer repertoire of movements, expanding the ability to freely choose how to act, and cultivating empathy towards others. This shifts our understanding of ethics in HCI as solely about abstract rules or policies 'out there' to also concern the specifics of how technology informs or dictates movement and experience.
The design of wearable, tangible and embedded interactive products requires a focus on bodily/kinesthetic aspects of the user experience, that is, how the product "feels" in use. Although best practice in user-centered design (such as iterative design, prototyping, user testing) also applies for this new type of product, the designer's skill set needs to be supplemented with design methods and practices that utilize bodily intelligence and empathy with the user. We present a framework for categorizing such body-centered design practices based on two dimensions: point-of-view (1st, 2nd, 3rd person) and tense (past, present, future). Inspired by Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the body, Shusterman's work on somaesthetics, and Buber's theories on intersubjectivity, the framework provides a language for talking about different ways designers and co-designers can utilize their body as a design resource. The intention is not to be prescriptive on method, but to provide guidance during planning, execution and analysis.