Resonating Experiences of Self and Others enabled by a Tangible Somaesthetic Design

by   Ilhan Aslan, et al.

Digitalization is penetrating every aspect of everyday life including a human's heart beating, which can easily be sensed by wearable sensors and displayed for others to see, feel, and potentially "bodily resonate" with. Previous work in studying human interactions and interaction designs with physiological data, such as a heart's pulse rate, have argued that feeding it back to the users may, for example support users' mindfulness and self-awareness during various everyday activities and ultimately support their wellbeing. Inspired by Somaesthetics as a discipline, which focuses on an appreciation of the living body's role in all our experiences, we designed and explored mobile tangible heart beat displays, which enable rich forms of bodily experiencing oneself and others in social proximity. In this paper, we first report on the design process of tangible heart displays and then present results of a field study with 30 pairs of participants. Participants were asked to use the tangible heart displays during watching movies together and report their experience in three different heart display conditions (i.e., displaying their own heart beat, their partner's heart beat, and watching a movie without a heart display). We found, for example that participants reported significant effects in experiencing sensory immersion when they felt their own heart beats compared to the condition without any heart beat display, and that feeling their partner's heart beats resulted in significant effects on social experience. We refer to resonance theory to discuss the results, highlighting the potential of how ubiquitous technology could utilize physiological data to provide resonance in a modern society facing social acceleration.


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