Becoming Cat People: Animal-like Human Experiences with a Sensory Augmenting Whisker WearableDownload PDF


21 Dec 2019 (modified: 17 Jan 2020)Graphics Interface 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Abstract: Humans have a natural curiosity to imagine what it feels like to exist as someone or something else. This curiosity becomes even stronger for the pets we care for. Humans cannot truly know what it is like to be our pets, but we can deepen our understanding of what it is like to perceive and explore the world like them. We investigate how wearables can offer people animal perspective-taking opportunities to experience the world through animal senses that differ from those biologically natural to us. To assess the potential of wearables in animal perspective-taking, we developed a sensory-augmenting wearable that gives wearers cat-like whiskers. We then created a maze exploration experience where blindfolded participants utilized the whiskers to navigate the maze. We draw on animal behavioral research to evaluate how the whisker activity supported authentically cat-like experiences, and discuss the implications of this work for future learning experiences.
  • Keywords: Wearables, biosensing, empathy, exploration, exploitation
  • TL;DR: This paper explores using wearable sensory augmenting technology to facilitate first-hand perspective-taking of what it is like to have cat-like whiskers.
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