Designing technology for active sitting
An example of Feldenkrais Method®-inspired body-centric interaction design
Keywords:design technology, active sitting, Feldenkrais Method, body conscious design, activity-based workspace design
As everyday technologies become more implicated in our physical health and mental wellbeing, the dependent relationship between people, technology and the environment cannot be ignored. There is a responsibility to examine assumptions around the relationships between body, technology and culture. What are the dominant paradigms and tacit assumptions underlying the designs and products that become embedded in daily life? How is movement and posture understood? What implications do these models have on how people understand and use their bodies in daily life?
It is this set of questions that underpins our research into the application of principles of Feldenkrais Method to interaction design, or what we call body-centric interaction design. We began this enquiry with a focus on the workplace, and how it could be redesigned through the lens of Feldenkrais Method. Our approach shares the values of body-conscious design introduced by Galen Cranz (2000), and extends the focus from the design of furniture and environment to include the use of digital, interactive technologies. It also builds on Margaret Kaye’s previous Feldenkrais-based workplace consultancy, including running workshops, on sitting, examining individual work areas, and adjusting work physical structures to suit the individual person. The consultancy was premised on the basis that we work with what we have. In contrast, the new study has enabled an exploration of new concepts using interactive technologies to support the aims of Feldenkrais practice in the workplace.