Last Wednesday I discussed scenarios in which I felt a piece of wearable technology could enhance communication. Each scenario focuses on the gaze, or eye contact–probably the most intimate of purposeful connections occurring in public. The scenarios were:
- On the street….I frequently pass by people I know who are either distracted or oblivious. It’d be nice to get a quick nod or hello with the help of some tech. Of course, as pointed out in class, this may be invasive or pressuring someone to communicate when it’s unwanted. I liked Maurice’s idea of hacking a Tinder-esque setup where contacts are tracked by proximity to the user, rather than my idea of face recognition. Simple and resourceful. Using what is already out there and tweaking it is a helpful strategy.
- In a restaurant….is typically a time meant to shared, not spent in separate virtual realities (aka on a cell phone or watching the flatscreen tv’s mounted in every corner). What if a programmed device could detect when eye contact was wanted or when someone in your close vicinity was speaking, and then alerted or directed your gaze? Christine mentioned a disabling of cell phones when eye contact was engaged? Maybe the solution is not to increase the amount of technology in the space, but reduce.
- At the movies…communication is limited. We’re usually hushed or unable to talk to the person we came with due to loud surroundsound. What if a warming sensation could occur in one’s chair when their companion is looking at them, enabling a different kind of communication and less visible alternative to physical contact? Or what if a button installed in the chairs could give the same warming sensation when pressed by the companion?