Abstract: While today’s tools allow us to communicate effectively with others via video and text, they leave out other critical communication channels, such as bodily cues. These cues are important not only for face-to-face communication but even when communicating forces (muscle tension, joint stiffness, etc.), feelings, and emotions. Unfortunately, the current paradigm of communication is rooted only in symbolic and graphical communication, leaving no space to add these additional and critical modalities.
This is precisely the research question I tackle: how can we also communicate our physical experience across people?
In this talk, I introduce how I have engineered wearable devices that allow for sharing physical experiences across users, such as between a physician and a patient, including people with neuromuscular diseases and even children. These custom-built user interfaces include virtual reality systems, exoskeletons, and interactive devices based on electrical muscle stimulation. I then investigated how we can extend this concept to support interactive activities, such as product design, through the communication of one's bodily cues. Lastly, I discuss how we can further explore the possibilities enabled by a user interface that communicates more than audio-visual cues and the roadmap for using this approach in new territories, such as enabling more empathic communication.
Bio: Jun Nishida is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, advised by Prof. Pedro Lopes. He received a Ph.D. in Human Informatics at the University of Tsukuba, Japan in 2019. He is interested in exploring interaction techniques where people can communicate their physical experiences to support each other, with applications in the fields of rehabilitation, education, and design. To this end, he engineers wearable interfaces that share bodily cues across people by means of electrical muscle stimulation, exoskeletons, virtual/augmented reality systems, along human factors. He has received ACM UIST Best Paper Award, ACM CHI Best Paper Honorable Mention Award, Microsoft Research Asia Fellowship Award, and Forbes 30 Under 30 Award among others. He has worked as a Ph.D. fellow at Microsoft Research Asia and as a research assistant at Sony Computer Science Laboratories.