The problem of how new technology integrates into everyday life and creates new behaviour is a constantly evolving topic. My research applies existing critical perspective to a field of human activity not well covered by current thinking; self-measurement, sleep and perception.
Sleep is an invisible body process, we cannot observe ourselves asleep nor can we see the details of our sleep phases without an intermediary, a mediating artefact, in this case a wearable digital sensing device. Sleep is done in private, personal spaces, and has not been widely addressed by researchers of technology or society. I explore the question of how technology mediates self-perception and behaviour change in the context of sleep. Taking an understanding of human reality as socially constructed, and applying this perspective to human computer interaction (HCI), my research, a series of case studies with seven participants, is a mixed method study that engaged informants in real-world situations.
Findings consist of, firstly, the importance of design to engage users and remove barriers, secondly, the significance of prior knowledge and experience and, thirdly, how people act and think in context, how this context changes under the influence of technology, and how understanding context can help to create more human technological experiences and new knowledge about the world.
The implications of these findings are related to a distinct process of design thinking and research, one that considers technology and people in new settings. The body as information environment is new conception, one that puts together sensing technology, body awareness and social context, an idea that has wide reaching implications for health care, HCI and design.
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