IceBreakware : designing wearable technologies for spatial awareness and social interactions
Author(s)Golan, Amos, S. M. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Designing wearable technologies for spatial awareness and social interactions
Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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We live in an era of constant connectedness; we carry a smartphone in our pocket, headsets on our ears and enjoy limitless and regular access to almost any content we wish. However, the use of the personal computing devices that allow this connection with the virtual world damages our ability to connect with the physical world surrounding us; our eyes are focused on screens, our ears are covered by headphones and our attention jumps between apps. As a result, many of us are actually finding it harder to have face to face interactions with others than ever before. We are getting worse at communicating with the people around us, in the present, and tend to prefer virtual alternatives, as they are easier to operate, less stressful and fully under our control. This thesis proposes a perspective at wearable and personal computing devices and the role that their design may play in creating and fighting the epidemic of growing isolation. We hypothesize that the negative social trends that we witness as a result of using smartphones, headphones and other personal devices are not the purpose of these technologies, but rather an unwanted byproduct of their use. We propose to redesign ubiquitous personal technologies to reduce their isolating effect and use them to foster more physical interpersonal interactions and spatial awareness, by equipping them with additional modes of operation that force interpersonal interaction. We call this family of new interfaces IceBreakware. As a proof of concept, we present LeakyPhones, an instance of IceBreakware and a social version of the ubiquitous headphones. LeakyPhones is an interface that allows colocated and real time audio sharing between two or more people by coupling music sharing with a gaze. LeakyPhones encourages users to explore their surroundings with their eyes, and interact with the people around them. They also change the meaning of a previously private medium such as the headphones and turn it into public at will. By doing this, Leakyphones tries to overcome some of the limitations of normal headphones. This work explores corrective measures to standard personal devices that can possibly be implemented to existing technologies in order to encourage desired social behaviors. It demonstrates how gaze and music sharing may act as a social vehicle and help and encourage positive real-world interactions between people while not substituting them with virtual alternatives.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-96).
DepartmentProgram in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Media Arts and Sciences ()