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FFF Seminar: “I feel like I’m made of water”: Designing sensory feedback to enrich the aesthetic perception of the body

Time: Fri 2023-12-01

Participating: Laia Turmo Vidal

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Technological advances in sensing and actuating capabilities, as well as the integration of body technologies in everyday contexts, are revolutionizing how we humans perceive, relate to and engage with our body. This can have profound consequences, as the way we experience our bodies shapes our physical, emotional and social wellbeing, as well as how we relate to the surrounding environment, to others and to ourselves. In this presentation talk, I will share part of my work in which I have designed, developed and evaluated sensory feedback wearables that enrich the aesthetic perception of the body beyond our usual sensory experience, for example through sensory augmentations or perceptual illusions of one’s body changing. These wearables present simple, open-ended movement visualizations, vibrotactile feedback, or metaphorical sonifications. Drawing from projects in wellbeing contexts, such as movement learning in fitness practices, everyday physical activity, and contemporary dance, I will reflect on how the designed wearables have fostered a deeper understanding of people’s bodies and prompted novel ways to perceive and relate to them. I will also reflect on how this enriched aesthetic perception can, in turn, promote the development of performance, movement creativity and experimentation, playfulness and fun, and an increased engagement with physical activities. To wrap up, I will reflect on three key areas of focus in my research: addressing the plurality of bodies and body experiences through our designs, leveraging material interactions for creativity and exploration, and advancing design methods and tools.