Presence in blended spaces

Benyon, David
July 2012
Interacting with Computers;Jul2012, Vol. 24 Issue 4, p219
Academic Journal
Abstract: Mixed reality technologies have been around for over 10years but it is only with the proliferation of smart phones and tablet (computers) that mixed and augmented reality interaction is reaching the mass market. There are now enough examples of mixed reality interactions that we can begin to abstract principles of design and principles of user experience (UX) for these new spaces of interaction. In this paper I develop the notion of mixed reality as a blended space. Mixed reality is a blend of a physical space and a digital space. The term ‘blend’ here is borrowed from blending theory which is a theory of cognition that highlights the importance of cross domain mappings and conceptual integration to our thought process that are grounded in physically-based spatial schemas. The concept of a blended space is developed by recognizing that physical space and digital space can both be described in terms of the objects and agents who inhabit the space, the structure of the objects’ relationships (the topology of the space) and the changes that take place in the space (the volatility, or dynamics of the space). The blended space will be more effective if the physical and digital spaces have some recognizable and understandable correspondences. The issue of presence in this blended space is then discussed and it is suggested that traditional definitions of presence are inadequate to describe the experiences that blended spaces offer. Presence is considered as interaction between the self and the content of the medium within which the self exists, and place is this medium. Blended spaces mean that people have an extended presence; from their physical location into digital worlds.


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