For my Master thesis, I elaborated on the policy implications of a technology still in its infancy, wearable electronics. Using a combination of lenses, ranging from Marshall McLuhan's Medium Theory, Barry Wellman's Networked Individualism & Caroline Nevejan's Witnessed Presence, I tried to anticipate the sociotechnical implications of this technology.
The theoretical analysis then became the groundwork to validate an upcoming wearable product called Bond, a venture backed by Kwamecorp. Notably, I undertook an ethnographic analysis of the startup using the framework of Bruno Latour's Actor-Network Theory. A series of in-depth interviews with the designers and developers of the startup formed the basis of a "reverse focus-group", where the goal was to understand the ethics and values of the 20-30 year olds who create and diffuse the technologies that increasingly dominate every aspect of modern life.
In conclusion, the research found that wearables - especially those that utilise touch modality - could bring to human-computer interaction a sense of intimate and ethical accountability by translating digital actions into embodied perception. Moreover, the phenomenon of "quantum of presence" interactions was identified, best exemplified by emoji, emoticons, Like buttons and other digital shortcuts to convey concern without cognitive exertion.
Click here to read the full thesis: Designing Witnessed Presence in Networked Wearables
Click here to read the ethnography: An ethnographic account of a new media agency