Design Installation

Speculative Design

Using Whole Body Interaction to Provoke Reflection on Self-Awareness of Social Presence in Public Spaces

Aiming at the issue of over-usage of smart devices in public spaces instead of interacting personally in the physical world, this two-weeks project used Whole Body Interaction, intending to provoke reflection on self-awareness of social presence in public spaces. After experience prototyping, concept developing and prototype building, some preliminary evaluations were carried out to test how people would react to the design.

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The project took a speculative approach at highlighting the issue that people in public spaces indulge in using their smart devices instead of interacting with physical people and objects. Through making people aware of what they are actually leaving behind while spending time on their smart devices, the design intention was to encourage interpersonal interaction in the physical world.

Experience prototyping

Through acting out the design team could speculate how people experience or feel about such situations. This quick ,zero-cost mocking-up and acting-out exercise allowed the designers to present the experience in a dramatic but informative way.


Concept Development

Focus was then directed at a specific situation when passengers are waiting for a few minutes on the platform in subway stations to board the next incoming train. The metaphor of when people are using a smart device and connected online, they are disconnected from the “real world”, is orientating the design concept. The effect of graying and pixelating the person’s body image represented the disappearance of social presence from the whole picture.


Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360, a motion sensing input device, was combined with Cycling 74’s Max/MSP software version 6.1.6 on a Mac environment.


User Tests and Evaluation

User Tests and Evaluation

The ambient setup enabled participants to choose freely how and if they want to interact. Users formed their own interpretation about the gray-scale and pixelated digital figure which led to some unexpected playful interactions.