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MassArt Installation

An experimental platform to study and visualize social interaction

Proximity Lab is a participatory installation and experimental interface platform designed to visualize relationships between users and mediated spaces. Built on the premise that physical proximity is a basic unit of social communication, this study examines the role that unconscious and dynamically created personal space plays in social interaction. The experiment also studies user engagement and response where interface conventions and rules are not explicitly disclosed.

Built on the premise that physical proximity is a basic unit of social communication, this study examines the role that unconscious and dynamically created personal space plays in social interaction. The experiment also studies user engagement and response where interface conventions and rules are not explicitly disclosed.

Visual Experience

A unique platform for experimentation

RFID tagged slippers which, combined with RFID sensors in the platform surface, allows the changing positions and movements of individual users to be tracked in real time. Images projected directly onto the floor are accompanied by stereo sound as a continuous response to the actions and interactions of participants.

Areas of investigation

The study explores the relationships between disclosure and participation through interfaces that promote self-directed exploration. Do increased levels of participation and collaboration occur when users are allowed to innovate and create new relationships with the system? Can interactive systems leave room for users to interpret and adopt new uses not envisioned by the designer?

Such collaborations between system architect and participant are explored as a model for elevating interactive experience design and self-directed exploration. The study explores a number of interaction design issues including:

  • Natural interface

    – utilizing the natural abilities of user as foundation for core user-system interface as opposed to additional interface layers
  • Visibility of interface

    – minimized to focus experience on essential content and activity
  • Disclosure of system rules

    – reduced to exploit the widest range of user responses
  • Pluralistic interaction

    – allowing users to observe and respond to other participants to create new opportunities for discovery and re-appropriation
  • Human scale

    – explored to elevate immersive qualities of experience and interaction