On gestural interactions with games

An interview on Gamasutra of Katherine Isbister and Nicole Lazzaro about Intimate Relations in video games. Some excerpts I liked (but the whole interview is interesting)

G: What are your hopes for the gestural input, particularly with the Nintendo DS and the Wii remote?

KI: (...) I think the trick is to get designers thinking in new ways to take advantage of that tactile interface, and that means understanding the social component of what’s going on gesturally between people. (...) Our lab just got a grant for a motion capture system to study interpersonal gestural dynamics and I’m really hoping we can feed that back into these sort of designs. I’ve got a lot of NSF grants going towards that kind of research. Once motion capture gets to an affordable level we’re hoping we can have these dynamics boiled down to a computable level and literally create gestural interfaces. (...) NI: And I think Katherine, there’s more you could say about the psychology of touch.

KI: Well it depends on what the touch is, holding hands can mean different things in different cultures, that’s a really sensitive issue. We saw that in our workshop, we told everyone that a $100 bill was hidden on someone and people were afraid to touch each other because of the boundary we typically have between other people. It turned out it was in my back pocket. I think everyone has that hesitation, but if you can get people to do something a little risky they automatically bond and their intimacy level goes up.

Why do I blog this? I like this idea of thinking about the social aspects of gesturing, this is so important in terms of how the bodies occupy space (proxemics....), how can we use this to design new interactions? can interpersonal gestural dynamics provide a good rationale for design? Those are intriguing questions. Besides, the touch issue is also interesting (right Timo!) Their conclusion "Constraint is design" also rings a bell.