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Species-Appropriate Computer Mediated Interaction

McGrath, R.E. (2009). Species-Appropriate Computer Mediated Interaction. Proc. CHI’09, ACM Press, pp.2529-2534.

McGrath calls for considered Species-Appropriate Interaction design, drawing on a range of examples, he considers this to be species centric and think of the interface outside of anthropocentric physical interfaces. The paper highlights the importance of sensors, haptics, tangible interfaces and a consideration of interaction beyond surveillance and tracking. In McGrath’s consideration of existing products he highlights that the cows in the Sensor Cow research, which creates a mediated musical exchange between bovine and human subjects where they are invited to “dance” together, may have an asymmetrical participation between the subjects; where the human understands the concept of dancing, and the cow is simply moving and interacting with the system. This is an important consideration in inter-species work.

Useful Quotes 

” These efforts excite the imagination and challenge our understanding the basic nature of computer mediated interaction.” (p. 2529)

“A ‘species-appropriate’ computer interface is a system that enables a non-human to interact with a computer in a (species-specific) meaningful way” (p. 2530)

“Reisner calls these systems ‘asymmetric interfaces,’ due to the substantial differences between the participants, noting that ‘animals do not read manuals,’ have their own ‘cognitive models’, and, for instance, cannot use common physical interfaces” (p. 2530)

“Examples [of Species-Appropriate Computer Mediated Interaction]  push our notions of how to interface with computers (forget about keyboards, menus, and help pages!), challenge design and evaluation methodology (forget questionnaires), as well as basic assumptions and theory” (p.2534)

Further Reading

Lee, S.P., A.D. Cheok, T.K.S. James, G.P.L. Debra, C.W. Jie, W. Chuang, and G. Farbiz, (2006) A Mobile Pet Wearable Computer and Mixed Reality System for Human-Poultry Interaction Through the Internet. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 10, 5 p.301- 317.

Ping, L.S., F. Farbiz, and A.D. Cheok. (2003) Touchy.Internet: a cybernetics system for human-pet interaction through the Internet. In: ACM SIGGRAPH 2003 Sketches & Applications.

Resner, B.I., (2001) Rover@Home: Computer Mediated Remote Interaction for Dogs. Media Arts and Sciences. MS, Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Savage, J., R.A. Sanchez-Guzman, W. MayolCuevas, L. Arce, A. Hernandez, L. Brier, F. Martinez, A. Velazquez, and G. Lopez. (2000) Animal-machine interfaces. In: The Fourth International Symposium on Wearable Computers. p.191-192.

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