As the kick-off for the Vertigo Magic Lining project, project partners Ana Tajadura-Jimenez, Kristi Kuusk and Aleksander Väljamäe presented their research at the World Usability Day event organized by the Tallinn University in Estonia.
Ana gave a talk about sound perception and sound-based interaction. She presented results from “The Hearing Body” project, in which they have been using innovative audio-interactive systems to show that it is possible to alter the way people perceive their own bodies through sound-feedback. Kristi spoke about sustainability and craft values driving the development of interactive textile product service systems. She brought examples from her work where traditions and innovative technology support, challenge and harmonise each other. Aleksander introduced the SynA brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that enable communication without movement. People can simply think and thereby move cursors, browse the internet, navigate virtual environments, or control wheelchairs or robotic arms. BCIs aim primarily to help users with severe disabilities who otherwise cannot communicate.
As part of the World Usability day “Magic!” workshop was held as a rapid prototyping exploratorium on the intersection between neuroscience research on mental body-representation, human-computer interaction and real-life applications. The exploratorium focused on wearable technology that integrates body-sensing and sensory feedback, suitable for use in real-life conditions (outdoors, home) and on the possibility of tailoring to meet user needs or preferences. The overarching challenge of the workshop was to develop a new wearable device that alters people's perception of their body appearance and capabilities as they walk or do other physical activity, resulting in more active motor patterns and positive emotional states. The workshop was facilitated by a group of experts: Ana Tajadura-Jiménez, Froukje Sleeswijk Visser, Kristi Kuusk, Stephan Wensveen, Aleksander Väljamäe, David Lamas, Joanna Rutkovsca, Tanel Toova, Ilkka Kosunen, Vladimir Tomberg, Hans Lock.
Both -- the workshop participants and the facilitators -- used the two days to explore the ideas around the “Magic!” topics. Throughout the workshop, the participants explored the ideas of Magic Lining and Magic Shoes through the provided electronics. They interacted with the provided experts and developed their ideas in teams of three or four people.
Some of the results were (see photos below):
- a prototype of a floating ground, that helps the user to practice keeping balance by altering lights in a predefined pattern according to the way the person steps on the surface;
- a prototype of a glove, that allows the user to exercise the motoric skills of the fingers for rehabilitation, and also functions as a flute learning tool;
- a prototype motivating a person with a static working style to stretch the body from time to time.
Photos by all the participants.