Perceiving While Being Perceived
Patrizia Marti


Under what conditions can we engage in a meaningful, expressive interaction with an electronic device? How can we distinguish between merely functional objects and esthetic, poetic, interactive objects that can be potential carriers for meaningful experience? This paper provides some answers to these questions through considering an aspect of aesthetic interaction that is still quite unexplored. Taking a phenomenological approach to action and perception, the paper explores the possibility of achieving by design a shared perception with interactive devices in order to enrich the experience of use as an emergent and dynamic outcome of the interaction. In exploring shared perception with interactive devices, the concept of “perceptual crossing” is taken as a main source of inspiration for design. As defined by Auvray, Lenay, and Stewart (2008), perceptual crossing is the recognition of an object of interaction which involves the perception of how the behaviour of the object and its perception relate to our own. In this sense, a shared perceptual activity influences the behaviour of interacting entities in a very peculiar way: we perceive while being perceived. Here, this argument is explored from the design viewpoint, and prototypes that illustrate the dynamics of perceptual crossing in human-robot interaction are presented.

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