How machines can help humans bond with their surroundings


Have you ever thought about the role space plays for the construction of your personal identity? The idea that space plays an important role for the latter is not new and has inspired an array of technological devices that exploit and highlight this relation. Building upon this line of thought, researchers from the University of Torino have considered ways in which citizens‘ emotional bond with urban spaces can be reconsidered and enhanced.
In a world of omnipresent public and private screens where distinguishing between virtual and real spaces has become increasingly difficult, there arises a need to help people reconnect with their surroundings and re-establish an authentic experience with the space they inhabit. While the blurred line between virtual and real world is part of the issue, wearable technology blurs the line between machines and humans, an inside and an outside, and helps reassign importance to the body that had become alienated. Information technologies can, therefore, paradoxically help recreate the disappearing bond.
Existing devices incorporate concepts of ambiguity and memory, with the latter being strongly related to identity. Having considered the way in which assigning memories to particular places helps citizens engage with urban space, Assunta Matassa and Fabiana Vernero went a step further and explored ways in which passing altered and dissonant memories to people through wearable technologies can provoke them and force them to actively contemplate the role of a given space in their life, thus helping them pause and better connect with their environment.
Their paper was presented at the First International Conference on IoT in Urban Space that took place in Rome in October 2014.

To learn more about their ideas and suggestions for future improvements, read the full paper here.

Editorial Staff

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