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Trend & Design Research

Somaesthetics: Body Awareness

In the IT-world, a plethora of technologies are coming closer and closer to your body. Kinect tracks your bodily movements. Nike shoes integrate. Philip’s FitBit collects your movement data. Polar’s Pulse Meters checks your pulse. Runkeeper keeps track of your run. This begs the question: how do we design for a real, pulsating and living body, without reducing it to what can be measured and kept perfect? In other words, how do we design for unique individual human beings?

In our project on Somaesthetics, we are attempting to design interactions with technology that support users to increase their bodily awareness, learning new bodily movements, new ways of breathing, or more pleasurable and aesthetically interesting ways of using their body. We based our design on a bodily practice named Feldenkrais. Feldenkrais-exercises can help if you are experiencing pain or stress, but can also help if you want to learn more about your own body and increase your repertoire of bodily movements.
 We have been testing different technologies to see how they may support such practices and increase your body awareness: health-based interactions, airbased inflatable interactions, pressure-based feedback, and so on. This technology is carefully crafted to both sense and influence users physically. Users can learn new movements, be inspired by others' presence (over the Internet) and influence the system over time.

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