Creating and evaluating embodied interactive experiences: case studies of full-body, sonic and tactile enaction.
This thesis contributes to the field of embodied and multimodal interaction by presenting the development of different original interactive systems. Using a constructive approach, a variety of real-time user interaction situations were designed and tested, two cases of human-virtual character bodily interaction, two interactive sonifications of trampoline jumping, collaborative interaction in mobile music performance and tangible and tactile interaction with virtual sounds.
While diverse in terms of application, all the explored interaction techniques belong to the context of augmentation and are grounded in the theory of embodiment and strategies for natural human-computer interaction (HCI). The cases have been contextualized within the umbrella of enaction, a paradigm of cognitive science that addresses the user as an embodied agent situated in an environment and coupled to it through sensorimotor activity. This activity of sensing and action is studied through different modalities: auditory, tactile and visual and combinations of these. The designed applications aim at a natural interaction with the system, being full-body, tangible and spatially aware. Particularly sonic interaction has been explored in the context of music creation, sports and auditory display. These technology-mediated scenarios are evaluated in order to understand what the adopted interaction techniques can bring to the user experience, how they modify impressions and enjoyment. The publications also discuss the enabling technologies used for the development, including motion tracking and programmed hardware for the tactile-sonic interaction and sonic and tangible interaction.
Results show that combining full-body interaction with auditory augmentation and sonic interaction can modify the perception, observed behavior and emotion during the experience. Using spatial interaction together with tangible interaction or tactile feedback provides for a multimodal experience of exploring a mixed reality environment where audio can be accessed and manipulated with natural interaction. Embodied and spatial interaction brings playfulness to a mobile music improvisation, shifting the focus of the experience from music-making towards movement-based gaming. Finally, two novel implementations of full-body interaction based on the enactive paradigm are presented. In these designed scenarios of enaction the participant is motion tracked and a virtual character rendered as a stick figure is displayed in front of her on a screen. Results from the user studies show how the involvement of the body is crucial in understanding the behavior of a virtual character or a digital representation of the self in a gaming scenario.