I’d like to hold a discussion on the barriers to immersion presented by embodied interfaces, and use it as a starting point to brainstorm how we might overcome these barriers. The paradox of these supposedly immersive interfaces is that they’re actually incredibly alienating. Similarly, even the most advanced virtual reality experiences fail to live up to our “Metaverse” expectations because we simply can’t fool our bodies.
The session could include discussion of commercial gaming platforms such as the Kinect, but I’m personally more interested in how this topic pertains to mobile interfaces and location-based games. The rhetoric surrounding locative media offers the same promise of user/player empowerment as as that of hypertext, but we’ve known for years that this just doesn’t translate in practice. Technological constraints necessarily limit the amount of control a user/player can have, and so produce an illusion of agency that quickly falls apart. Rather than creating the promised immersive experience, the embodied interface often leaves the user feeling disoriented, discouraged and disempowered.
How can we overcome these barriers? If we’re simply not there yet, how can we make constructive use of them instead?