Mobility, Human-centricity, and the Design of Wearable Augmented Reality Interfaces

Dr. Isabel Pedersen
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Wearable Computers in combination with 'Augmented Reality' interfaces are emerging as a new medium of communication. The most obvious benefit of these devices is ease of motion. No longer tethered to an office, humans can travel about with complete physical freedom and engage with an interface in an immersive way.

While wearable hardware inventors make great advances to support a moving human, current interfaces do not communicate the 'idea' of independent movement; they do not make humans feel like they can move freely. In this paper, I suggest a new set of concepts, drawn from humanities disciplines, to strategize the design of wearable interfaces in terms of mobility. First, I use the rhetoric of Kenneth Burke to situate the act of movement as a sign of the "positive order" (A Rhetoric of Motives). By treating 'moving' as signification, I can conceptualize interfaces to support mobility as a meaningful act. Second, I draw on Rudolph Arnheim's notion of "centricity" (the Power of the Center) to fashion a new metaphorical foundation for wearable interfaces. Metaphor plays a crucial role in interface design because it shapes foreign concepts into meaningful ones for humans. My goal is to enable wearers to become 'movers' rather than 'followers'. Third, I demonstrate these design suggestions by analyzing the visual rhetoric of the Telus® 'the future is friendly®' advertising campaign (2001-2002). Telus' campaign serves as an ideal for strategizing design in similar terms. In summary, this paper uses visual rhetoric and semiotics to strategize mobility for wearable computers in combination with augmented reality interfaces.

Keywords: Rhetoric, Semiotics, Metaphor, Conceptual Interface Design
Stream: Cyberspace, Technology
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Mobility, Human-centricity, and the Design of Wearable Augmented Reality Interfaces

Dr. Isabel Pedersen

Assistant Professor, Department of Business and Technical Communication Faculty of Communication and Design, Ryerson University

Dr Isabel Pedersen recently defended her PhD dissertation, which deals with the rhetoric and social semiotics of wearable computers and augmented reality. Her major publications include "Looking Good on Whose Terms?: Ambiguity in Two Kellogg's Special K ┬« Print Advertisements" in Social Semiotics and "M├ętissage and the Emancipation of the Postcolonial Autobiographical Self in Clarke's Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack" Wascana Review of Contemporary Poetry and Writing. Dr Pedersen and her collaborator, Dr Neil Randall, have given conference papers on conceptual interface design at several annual conferences including the Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, the National Communication Association Convention, the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on documentation (ACM SIGDOC), the Computers and Writing Conference, and The Intertextuality of Science Studies at Texas Tech University's Comparative Literature Symposium.

Ref: H05P0106