Embodied Interaction or, Waving with a Phone
Link: Nokia – Xpress-on Fun Shells Main page.
This is nice. ‘Airtexting’ is visual, embodied [because the phone becomes an extension of ‘you’] form of communication. If you were unable to just shout across the bar, or felt unable to give the finger to that cabbie, then this could be the tool for you. It’s a clever device which emits a series of lights on the cover of the phone which are emitted in response to the movement of the phone. Yes, it looks like a txt in the air. However, i would wager that currently the person sending the air text looks a plonk.
This new function for the phone got methinkin about the phone’s basic usp – its ‘job’ – and how people employ it. Since the inception of the mobile phone it seems to me that it has gone from being a luxury tool to communicate long distances between two people in real time to being a common tool to communicate often shorter distances [bluetooth, infrared and even voice calls are undertaken in the same room because of the drop in voice calls] often over time [txting kind of stretches time] and facilitating one-to-many communication [moblogging]. Airtexting seems to me to be exacerbating this trend… I guess this is the maturation of a product as it embeds into the social fabric. How people use airtexting will be worth watching out for.
Matt Jones – from whom I got the airtext link – also elaborates about embodied interaction with particular reference to RFID tags. With far more devices being personal, wearable and integrating into our private spaces, work on the ‘body’ as a site of socialisation is becoming more relevant: digital media is increasingly ’embodied’ [see Turner’s ‘The Body and Society’ as an intro though no good for digital media particularly]. These new developments means that while designing for digital media has always been about interaction [e.g. social software] we now have to cut into the very idea of ‘identity’ and what it means to be ‘social’. And that is really interesting.