May 21 – 24 , 2018, Dagstuhl Seminar 18212

On-Body Interaction: Embodied Cognition Meets Sensor/Actuator Engineering to Design New Interfaces


Kasper Hornbaek (University of Copenhagen, DK)
David Kirsh (University of California – San Diego, US)
Joseph A. Paradiso (MIT – Cambridge, US)
Jürgen Steimle (Universität des Saarlandes, DE)

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On-body technologies are emerging as a new paradigm in human-computer interaction. Instead of moving a mouse or tapping a touch surface, people can use whole-body movements to navigate in games, gesture in mid-air to interact with large displays, or touch their forearm to control a mobile phone. First promising applications are being investigated or have been demonstrated in mobile computing, healthcare, or sports.

Two areas of research have been contributing to this paradigm. Research on embodied cognition suggests that the body should no longer be treated as a passive actuator of input devices but as something that needs to be carefully designed for and as something that offers unique new possibilities in interaction. Embodied cognition has become a prominent candidate for outlining what we can and cannot do in on-body interaction. Research on interactive technologies for the body is opening up new avenues for human-computer interaction, by contributing body-based sensing input and output modalities with more body compatible form factors. Together, these areas allow the design and implementation of new user interfaces; however, they are rarely in direct contact with each other.

The intended outcome of the seminar is a research agenda for on-body technologies based on synergies between these two views. We therefore aim to bring together a group of researchers from embodied cognition (including psychology, robotics, human-computer interaction, and sociology) as well as sensor/actuator engineering (including computer science, materials science, electrical engineering). We aim to have these groups outline a research agenda for on-body technologies, in part using a bottom-up process at the seminar, in part using structured answers to questions in advance of the seminar. Key topics for discussion include, but are not limited to, (1) advances in on-body sensors and actuators, in particular how to drive the technical development from work on embodied cognition and the body, (2) cognitive consequences of on-body technologies, (3) how to take the peculiarities and possibilities of the body into consideration, (4) how to evaluate on-body technology, and (5) application areas of on-body technologies. To share the results with the larger research community, we aim to outline a special issue of a journal or an edited book on body-based user interfaces, spanning the disciplines and topic areas mentioned above. We find that the time is right to bring together a multi-disciplinary group of researchers to map out a research agenda and to understand how experts from different fields will need to work in tandem to develop these novel on-body interfaces.

  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Kasper Hornbaek, David Kirsh, Joseph A. Paradiso, and Jürgen Steimle


  • Society / Human-computer Interaction


  • Human-Computer interaction
  • Embodied cognition
  • User interface software and technology

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