Playing with computers mostly means focusing on the mind, rather than the body. However, sports teaches us how powerful experiences can be if the active human body is involved. In consequence, I propose to see the body as a design opportunity for unique human-computer interactions: I call it “Experiencing the Body as Play”. I argue that this can be achieved by framing the body’s limitations as challenges that can facilitate bodily play, as inspired by sports. As such, I propose to put the human body into the center of the digital play experience. I illustrate this thinking by presenting recent work from the Exertion Games Lab, including a flying robot as jogging companion, 3D printed heart rate souvenirs, illuminated bicycle helmets, on-body robotic arms, wireless pills and augmented skateparks.
Florian 'Floyd' Mueller directs the Exertion Games Lab and is co-director of the Centre for Game Design Research at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. The Exertion Games Lab investigates the design of exertion games, these are digital games that require physical effort, in order to understand the opportunities of combining human interface technology, play and the active human body. This research is situated within a broader interaction design agenda that supports people’s values such as an active and healthy life. Floyd has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, having worked on the topic of exertion games across four continents, including at organizations such as the MIT Media Lab, Media Lab Europe, Fuji-Xerox Palo Alto Laboratories and Xerox Parc. Floyd has also been a Microsoft Research Asia Fellow and has worked at the Microsoft Beijing lab with the research teams developing Xbox Kinect. Previously in Australia, he has studied and worked at the University of Melbourne and was a principal scientist at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), where he led the Connecting People team. Floyd’s work has been shortlisted for the European Innovation Games Award (next to Nintendo's WiiFit), won a Nokia Ubimedia Mindtrek Award and was commissioned by Wired's Nextfest. His games were played by over 20,000 players across 3 continents and were featured on the BBC, ABC, Discovery Science Channel and Wired magazine.
Further upcoming talks can be found here.