The importance of the "body" (the why of tangible computing?)

I am sure this paper is interested for Adam Greenfield's next book ("The city is here for you to use"):How Bodies Matter: Five Themes for Interaction Design by Scott R. Klemmer, Bjoern Hartmann, and Leila Takayama For DIS2006:

It discusses how "our physical bodies play a central role in shaping human experience in the world, understanding of the world, and interactions in the world", drawing on various theories of embodiment in the field of psychology, sociology and philosophy.

What is interesting is that articles presents some relevant arguments and examples that shows the importance of the body. It put the emphasis on the embodiment for (among others), I picked up those I was interested in:

  • Learning through doin: physical interaction in the world facilitates cognitive development (Piaget, Montessori)
  • Gesture is important in terms of cognition and fully linguistic communication for adults (to conceptually plan speech production and to communicate thoughts that are not easily verbalized)
  • Epistermic actions: manipulating artifacts to better understand the task’s context
  • Thinking through prototyping
  • Tangibility of representations: The representation of a task can radically affect our reasoning abilities and performance.
  • The tacit knowledge that many physical situations afford play an important role in expert behavior.
  • hands, as they are simultaneously a means for complex expression and sensation: they allow for complicated movement
  • kinesthetic memory is important to know how to interact with objects (ride a bicycle, how to swim)
  • Reflective reasoning is too slow to stay in the loop
  • Learning is situated in space
  • Visibility Facilitates Coordination
  • Physical Action is characterized by Risk: bodies can suffer harm if one chooses the wrong course of action
  • Personal responsibility: Making the consequences of decisions more directly visible to people alters the outcome of the decision-making process.

Why do I blog this? This echoes with the literature review I did about how space/place affords socio-cognitive interactions. Embodiment is certainly one of the most interesting component of this relationship.

I also think one of the most important dimension is the inherent risk of physical actions, nobody gets physically hurt in virtual worlds but what happened while playing augmented reality quake?

Of course this is meant to support the "why" question of tangible computing?