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Human response and awareness of social and physical environment

Human response and awareness of social and physical environment

When strolling along the city streets, I always found myself spaced out to somewhere else from time to time, but I could walk well without paying attention. Recently, there is a really famous app called “Pokemon GO”, which is an augmented reality mobile game that tracks players’ geographical location and as players walk within the real-world surroundings it synchronizes with the world in the app. When you encounter a pokemon you can catch them with your mobile phone. And there was a time that a majority of people went crazy for this app that you could see people running around staring at their phones catching what they called “pokemons”. Personally, I regard this behavior as zombies’, a massive people flocking to a specific place with their phones, they were in between the real world and the virtual world. From the perspective of an outsider, they performed just fine without focusing on the road and surroundings, but still, there were some serious accidents happened during the game.

It is miraculous that we can respond to the surroundings with our subliminal mind, which is like an automatic system that guides you through the tasks subconsciously. As we perceive the environment through our senses, in other words, the senses are the only physical interface between us and the outside world directly which allows us to see, hear, touch, smell and taste. With appropriate biological receptors, we are able to pick up signals from our surrounding environment and pass them to different parts of the brain through various pathways to process.

It is easy to see how the sight of knife, the sound of voice calling your name, a touch on your hand can rapidly alter your brain. But crucially, tons of subliminal sensory triggers occur — so fleeting or minimal that we don’t consciously note them, or of a type that, even if noted seems irrelevant to a subsequent behavior.” (Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [1] Actually, Subliminal cuing and unconscious guiding affect numerous behaviors. Compare the speed of walking in a park and on Tottenham Court road, obviously, it quickens when pacing off the road. Why? The contrast of the environmental atmosphere, loud traffic sound and crowded people, on the other hand, the park is more of a peaceful and quiet place to enjoy every minute. “Over the course of seconds of sensory cues can shape your behavior unconsciously” (Oliver Sacks, 2017) [2] Our behavior differs from place to place but we seldom consciously aware of it.

1.2 Triune Brain Theory

  In the “Triune Brain Theory” which is proposed by a leading American physician and neuroscientist Dr. Paul Maclean in 1960s. The triune brain is a conceptual model of human brain that consists of three functional domains, the reptilian brain, the limbic system, and the neocortex, viewed as three major brain structures added to the brain sequentially in the course of evolution. It believed these three structures operate independently, while in fact, they are not separable and simultaneously influencing one another in most circumstances. However, despite some drawbacks and errors, this model became familiar to a broad people and psychiatrists, which also serves a good metaphor for this theory.

  Layer 1, the reptilian brain, the ancient brain controls our innate and automatic functions such as heart rate, body temperature, breathing and stress response which can be found in reptiles. Followed by layer 2, the limbic system, is a first evolved region in mammals and were responsible for emotion and motivation; last but not least, the neocortex, layer 3, a complex structure found in higher mammals and primates, mainly devoted to sensory processing, cognition, and philosophy. Moreover, human has the largest proportion of these regions than other primates, which refers to the conscious thought, planning, and language.

1.3 One second before

  The amygdala, considered a part of limbic system and located under the cortex within the temporal lobe, gets the projections from all the sensory systems. It performs a primary role of emotional response mainly for fear and aggression. Sensory information inputs from various sensory organs into the brain, reaching for the proper curtail regions (visual cortex, auditory cortex…) for processing. “Importantly, some sensory information entering the brain takes a shortcut, bypassing the cortex and going directly to the amygdala. Thus, the amygdala can be informed about something scary before the cortex has a clue. Moreover, thanks to the extreme excitability of this pathway, the amygdala can respond to the stimuli that are too fleeting or faint for the cortex to note. Additionally, the shortcut projections form stronger, more excitable synapses in the BLA than do the ones from the sensory cortex; emotional arousal enhances fear conditioning through this pathway.”(Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [3]

Our body has an automatic mechanism to a response before you consciously aware of it. However, not every sensorial perception becomes conscious apperception, most subliminal perception we constantly left out for our conscious awareness. Some notable examples are that we are surrounded by sound in our everyday life, if we pay attention to the sound environment we will find out that it is constituted by many layers of sound from various of distances.

 “The keynote sounds of a landscape are those created by its geography and climate. Keynote sounds do not have to be listened to consciously. Signals are foreground sounds and they are listened to consciously. The term soundmark is derived from landmark and refers to a community sound which is unique or possesses qualities which make it specially regarded or noticed by the people in that community.” (Schafer, 1994)[4] Keynote sounds are the background sound of the environment which are usually being ignored by us, but it will be strange to live without them. In the deep of our consciousness, we know everything is still moving on and writing their own story without us involving. A figure will not exist if there isn’t a ground. Ultimately, we are more aware of the signal sounds, and mostly they serve as acoustic warning devices in our society. We cannot not listen, but we never focus on listening, there are more things out there than we think that we miss out.

 “Logically, when the amygdala wants to mobilize a behavior — say, fleeing — it talks to the frontal cortex, seeking its executive approval. But if sufficiently aroused, the amygdala talks directly to subcortical, reflexive motor pathways. Again, there’s a trade-off — increased speed by bypassing the cortex, but decreased accuracy. And the output shortcut may prompt you to pull a trigger before you consciously mean to.”(Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [5] This means that before your auditory cortex recognizes the sound waves from the cochlea stimulation, your body has already triggered the automatic system to deal with it, especially for something that evokes fear and aggression such as sirens. Hence, from the sensory stimulation all the information processed by amygdala which has inseparably associated with our emotional feelings and body response, mostly about setting alarms throughout our body and brain.

Two: Awareness – The awaking self

2.1 The biological response

 So, out of curiosity, in order to prove our body arousal according to the environmental factors, I did a serial of experiments in distinctive sites. Not merely did the subliminal perception influence our behavior that was mentioned in the previous chapter, but the heart rate accelerated and decelerated in the different environment. With pulse sensor attached, I roamed slowly in each site for 3 minutes and 5 minutes preceding rest before start reading the data, it helps to calm the heart rate to an average value. The experiment shows that my heart rate soared up to 125bmp as the highest heart rate within 3 minutes in Tottenham Court road, while in Regent Park it was only 50bmp in average which was quite impressive to see such a huge divergence in these two sites.

Moreover, I added another environmental control factor to this experiment, which was the decibel of the site. The volume of the sound environment in Tottenham Court road was way higher compared to Regent Park, with 77.8db and 59.5db, respectively. The research also shown the direct impacted on heart rate variability (HRV) due to the thermal loads, subjective social stresses, noise and CO. “The most interesting result is the fact that while subjective social stress and noise increase HRV, low levels of CO are reducing HRV to some extent moderating the impact of subjective social stress and noise. The effects of thermal loads on HRV are negligible probably due to the use of behavioral means in order to neutralize heat and cold effects.” (Schnell et al., 2013) [6] The influences of the social stresses and noise are relatively evident, however, the lower level of CO concentrations can reduce the heart rate explains more about the feature of the sites. Since Carbon monoxide is a product of the industrial revolution, mostly produced by factories and vehicles, which is why we are so calm in a park rather than in a busy city street.


2.2 The autonomic system

 In this case, our body is responding to the environment subconsciously, environmental factors and the subjective social stresses cause our body to automatically regulate. “Stress influences, among other things, the performance of the autonomic nervous system that regulates vital processes like blood circulation and breathing in adapting the body’s internal environment to the external one.” (Jonsson, 2007) [7]

 It reminds me of the lie detector, which determines whether the subject who is answering the question lies by measuring and recording the physiological responses caused by the sympathetic nerves such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and Galvanic skin response. Since such physiological reactions are involuntarily produced that changes in the physiological response caused by lying are considered to reveal whether the subject is lying. With lie detector, our body reveals the truth without our conscious control which objectively brings out the fact. It is the autonomic nervous system that we are detecting, the reptilian brain.

The autonomic nervous system, invertebrates, is in control of unconsciously acts and regulates the basic bodily functions such as heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, digestion and so on without conscious recognition. Like the reptilian brain, it is primarily responsible for the fight-or-flight stress response. The autonomic nervous system has two branches, the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system, which serve respectably opposite functions. In psychological terms, it is the “id” part of ourselves that we are pursuing which represent the instinctual drives and impulses of the human under unconsciousness, defined by Sigmund Freud.

 Does the autonomic nervous system involve emotional feelings? Despite that my heart rate quickened and I subconsciously walked at a faster speed in Tottenham Court road, I felt anxious and unpleasant in the physical environment.

And where does the hypothalamus come in? It’s the means by which the limbic system influences autonomic function, how layer 2 talks to layer 1. Be exposed to something sufficiently terrifying, and limbic structures, via the hypothalamus, persuade the midbrain and brain stem (the reptilian brain) to do the same. This is how emotions change bodily functions, why limbic roads eventually lead to the hypothalamus. So, the limbic system indirectly regulates automatic function and hormone release. What does this do with behavior? Plenty — because the autonomic and hormones states of the body feedback to the brain, influencing behavior (typically unconsciously).”(Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [8]

Therefore, before the sensorial stimuli enter the frontal cortex, our autonomic nervous system activates, the hormone releases and unconsciously affects our behavior, these are all happening within a fleeting timeline but these two layers exert a profound influence inseparably. “Does this mean that the pattern of your autonomic arousal influences what you feel? Not really. But autonomic feedback influences the intensity of what is felt.” “The brain also constantly receives interoceptive information. And much of these varied types of information in subliminal. Ultimately, the most important point of this chapter is that in the moments just before we decide upon some of our most consequential acts, we are less rational and autonomous decision makers than we like to think.” (Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [9]

THREE: Connection- The communicating self

3.1 Wearables

Is the detection of the body response help us to understand ourselves and the environment? I suggest the answer would be positive, and it also creates a bond between us and the physical environment. The question is how do we bring the subliminal response to the conscious level. There are a great number of existing wearables and apps that keep tracks of your body condition and try to calm you down with some instructions, well-known as I-watch. What is the main purpose of these technological creations? In my opinion, it is a medium of communication, it communicates between our subliminal mind and conscious mind. It tells me the biological feedback form to the environment, and it tells what I feel right now. Some wearables even serve as a health alerting device, mainly for stress response.

As our life in modern society become more complex, we tend to adapt or ignore in numerous circumstances, there is a requirement for “ambient intelligence” in which the intelligent technology is able to integrate into our personal life and everyday surroundings. “Clothing would be an ideal place for intelligent systems because clothing could enhance “our capabilities without any conscious thought of effort” (Mann, 1966). Clothing can build a very intimate form between human-machine interaction.” (Cho, 2009)[10] The “SmartShirt”, described as “the shirt that thinks”, is developed by a textile company based in New York called Sensatex Inc., which function as a wireless system that detects and monitor the physical changes within the human body. The biometric data, such as heart rate, body temperature, and calorific burn, can be measured and wirelessly transmitted to the personal computer through the internet. Additionally, the environmental conditions which related to the biometric changes of the user can be used as inputs, it helps the user manage their emotional expressions. “Smart shirt is a good example of how physiological changes can be measured and used for an enhances awareness about the emotional changes occurring within the body.” (Mura, 2008) [11] This kind of wearables serve as a body extension, to let us know more about ourselves.


Self Regulation wearable- work in progress/ 2018


3.2 The arousal

Measuring electrodermal activity is one technique that provides readily accessible autonomic indices, such as the skin conductance response (SCR). SCR is due to rapid fluctuations in eccrine sweat gland activity, which result from the liberation of acetylcholine by the sympathetic nervous system. The measure has the advantage over other measures of autonomic nervous system such as heart rate since SCR is under a strict control of the nervous system. Moreover, SCRs have been shown to be reliable measures of autonomic expressions of emotions.” (Khalfa et al., 2002) [12]

 Alongside the research thesis report, I and my teammates decided to build a wearable device to detect our inner body arousal in response to both the physical and psychological environment. Galvanic skin response sensor has exceeded the advantages of the pulse sensor, which has more accuracy towards subtle bodily response and it is primarily used to detect the level of emotional arousal. From both visual and auditory modalities, GSR proved to be modulated by rated arousal.

 Among other measures, autonomic responses can provide reliable emotional reactions in two dimensions, levels of affective valence (pleasant or unpleasant) and arousal (calming or stimulating), which is a complex and specific concept of emotional granularity, presented by Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett. With several experiments, the literature has shown that “electrodermal activity is more sensitive to variations in emotional arousal rather than to valence. The arousal effect obtained using musical excerpts parallels the one obtained when slides of affective pictures or environmental sound were employed. In these previous experiments, larger SCR changes were significantly related to increased arousal ratings, but not the valence rating.”(Khalfa et al., 2002) [13]

 While GSR sensor is sensitive enough to record the subtle bodily arousal, it is difficult for us to distinguish its positive or negative emotions. However, with some questionnaires alongside to investigate the inner emotional feelings and some comparison between cases, it found out that there was no significant difference of the GSR levels between happiness and fear nor between peacefulness and sadness. “In the present experiment, the pleasant emotion of happiness was not statistically differentiated from the unpleasant emotion of fear.” (Khalfa et al., 2002) [14] As far as I’m concerned, the machine can only remind our body response to the events that we unaware of, and only us know what is really going on with ourselves, since its too complex to know what truly setting of our autonomic nervous system.

3.3 Communication

EMO is a wearable, designed by the author and the collaborators, it serves the purpose as to interrogates between subconscious perception and conscious awareness. In this project, we created an individual scale of wearables that critique between “How I truly feel?” and “How I feel?” which indicates both the biometric body response and the social expressions under conscious mind. It is inevitable to find out the conflictions between these two aspects. A concrete example is that when you post and emoji or state your feelings on your Facebook page, your processing of feeling and the perception of your feeling often diverge. Your online persona does not necessarily equate to your real-world persona.

We tend to hide our true identity in the wireless world, generally, we post our best side, share our positive condition on social media and rarely sees the negative status. It is a protective mechanism of our social status. Moreover, it is easier for us to build a positive image online, and it seems unlikely to happen in the real world. “People intentionally and unintentionally communicate their emotions with various facial expressions, gestures, vocal tones, and bodily movements. “We communicate our emotions through our body” (Planalp, 1999) The manifestations of our emotions occur not only with the observable bodily changes but also with unobservable reactions.” (Mura, 2008) [15] Through body language, facial expressions, and tones which are known as the observation cues, it more or less reveals the inner emotional feelings. “The display and the comprehension of bodily reactions are used for building and communicating emotions non-verbally” (Mura, 2008) [16]

As the development of the internet, it opened a new chapter of communication. Emoji is an electronic message that represents the emotional feelings similar to emoticons and is now considered to be a popular worldwide common language among countries. We create, we learn and we widely use, it is a process of encoding and decodes the messages through various methods to express ourselves and to communicate. Likewise, wearables create a new communication system privately and publically.

EMO is a new type of communication wearable that represent your internal state through colors in the physical environment and the use of bio-sensing technology by revealing the subconscious perception of our social environment. It is a tool that creates a new relationship between the wearers. “Clothing designers want to create systems of clothing that react, collect information, and enrich our interactions with spaces and people.” (Galbraith, 2003) [17] EMO contains two parts of functions: the detection of participant’s facial expressions with Muscle sensor at the same time it collects biometric arousal by using Galvanic Skin Response sensor.

Though we derive subliminal from bodily cues, such as posture, we get the most information from faces. Why else evolve the fusiform? Subjects guess political affiliation or religion at above-chance levels just by looking at faces. And for the same transgression, people who look embarrassed — blushing, eyes averted, face angled downward and to the side — are more readily forgiven.”(Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [18] Facial expression is the most representative non-verbally communication among others. With the attachment of the muscle sensor on the cheek, we transmit different facial expressions into the data of muscle tensions and then represented by the colors of the wearables. In other words, the colors of the wearables directly show the representational status of your emotional feelings. “Affective and augmented communication of emotions can be provided by wearable technologies as they can display and broadcast the multimedia compositions of final appearances that are defined and decided by the user. Responsive clothing has the ability to refresh its appearances according to the input provided by the user, a network member, or the environment.”(Mura, 2008) [19]

 Additionally, there is another visual output for the bodily arousal which shows the true body condition in real time. With GSR sensor, the detection of the arousal activates the infrared light which embedded in the wearables located at the chest area. It is impossible to see from the human’s eye, but by using the front camera of the mobile phone, it reveals. This is a way of protecting the private body condition from the public, only can be seen by ourselves. With both outputs, we are able to compare between the representational self and the physiological self, by critiquing between the visible public domain and the invisible personal domain. And by hinting us about our raising stress level and heartbeat, it begins to bring some of the bodily response in unconscious level to a conscious level.

3.4 Interactions

These clothes are intended to enrich our emotional dialogues and help manage our social relations. The emotional response of wearer to any occasions can be amplified by presenting noticeable, exaggerated visual compositions, such as changing colors or textures of garments; be hidden by not showing any physical response when it is socially not appropriate.” (Mura, 2008) [20] EMO is designed into three individual pieces as a serial collection, each of them is created by over a thousand cable ties, Arduino devices and LEDs. As architects, without any knowledge of fashion design, we decided to use the simplest materials — cable ties and PVC tubes to construct the wearables. The exaggerated design is to emphasize the presence of the wearables and to catch attention at the prototype stage.

Through some experiments, with the wearables on, it is interesting to find out the display of facial expression extended from less than180 degrees to 360 degrees, which means, we can notice the emotional feelings without looking at their faces. This slight adjustment has changed the pattern of behavior and interaction entirely. When the wearable is showing the color of a smiling face, without seeing his or her face, people who are around would voluntarily and intend to get closer or interact with the wearer. On the contrary, if the wearable shows the color of an angry emotion, people would tend to give him or her some space.

Moreover, it expands the invisible bubble of communication in the physical environment. In Proxemics Theory, Edward T. Hall defined as “the interrelated observations and theories of humans use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture.”He classified the interpersonal distances of human into four distinct zones, including intimate space (0 to 18 inches), personal space (18 inches to 4 feet), social space (4 to 10 feet) and Public space (10 feet to infinity). Within each zone, has different influences on behavior, communication, and social interaction.

People also have boundaries that mark their personal space. It’s as if we walk around in an invisible bubble. Those with whom we are intimate may enter into the sphere without harm to either party. Invasion by others causes distress. Because of our animal nature, we all have a zone of personal space, but the area of personal space differs greatly from culture to culture.” (Griffin, Ledbetter, Sparks, 1991) [21]

With the color display of the emotional feelings on our body, it acts as a body extension of perception. Assume everyone has the wearable and each of them presents a color signals for emotion from the distance to distance, one can promptly see the emotional condition of other people from far away as within the visual range. It helps to shorten the communication distance within social and public space of the interpersonal distances.

Additionally, there is an interactive system built in the EMO, with the arousal of the inner stress response lit up the infrared light. Under the circumstances, when the wearer gets closer to someone within the personal space including intimate space, normally, that indicates close friends, lovers, children, close family members, the LEDs embedded in the other’s wearable will lit up. Meaning, in spite of the unseen of the infrared light, the wearer can feel the other’s arousal through their wearable, but only within the range of the infrared light receiver.

Social distance (4 to 10 feet). This is the zone of impersonal transaction. We now have to rely solely on what we can see and hear. By the middle of the range, the eye can focus on the entire face. When the distance is more than eight feet, it’s OK to ignore another’s presence and it’s easy to disengage from a conversation.” “Public distance (10 feet to infinity). Once you’re this far out, you can no longer pick up subtle nuances of meaning from the face of tone of voice. The eye can take in whole body glance. It’s the distance of the lecture hall, mass meetings and interactions with powerful figures until such time as they bid you to come closer.” (Griffin, Ledbetter, Sparks, 1991) [22] As a piece of wearable that covers half a body, it is easier to perceive the feelings with half an eye and also enhance the communication in the social and public distance. Instant messenger, social media and the internet shorten the communication distance between people in the virtual world; relatively, wearables, specifically EMO, shorten the communication distance in the physical world. Furthermore, “As Gaver (1999) reminds us, technology may support emotional communication more directly than traditional media.” (Mura, 2008) [23] and it makes an appeal to the emotions.

FOUR: Regulations — The healing self

4.1 Relationship with the environment

Let’s zoom back to the bigger scale. Environmental features play an important role in affecting our biological response as it is mentioned in the previous chapters. Not only we subconsciously perceived it and triggers the autonomic nervous system to regulate within our body, but it also indirectly influences our behavior. Through the collective of our biological data, is it possible to review our physical environment?

Thus, our social environment unconsciously shapes our behavior over the course of minutes. As does our physical environment. Now we come to the “broken window” theory of crime of James Q. Wilson and George Kelling. They proposed that small signs of urban disarray — litter, graffiti, broken windows, public drunkenness — form a slippery slope leading larger signs of disarray, leading to increased crime. Why? Because litter and graffiti as the norm mean people don’t care or are powerless to do anything, constituting an invitation to litter or worse.”(Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [24] The broken window theory has proved that the physical environmental atmosphere is able to affect our subliminal behavior. Imagine walking through a dark and narrow alley alone, it is obvious to feel nervous and abnormally alert of the surrounding environment as to prepare for an unforeseen situation, in the meantime, the inner stress would cause the bodily arousal.

As an obvious one, dogs prick up their ears when they’re alert — the brain has stimulated ear muscles in a way that enables the ears to more easily detect sounds, which then influences the brain. During acute stress, all of our sensory systems become more sensitive.”(Robert M. Sapolsky., 2017) [25] It is the acute stress that is detecting by the GSR sensor, which is an immediate reaction that triggers the fight-or-flight response; unlike the chronic stress, a long-term of psychological stress, and your health may suffer.

4.2 Social awareness

Our biological response in our subliminal mind is the true reaction to the environment that we cannot fake it such as the facial display. Once you started a question, people processed it with the conscious mind; and once you noticed that you’re being watched by others, the behavior changed. “The role of social facilitation is important to consider in social situations because it implies that people’s performance does not rely solely on their abilities, but also their awareness that they are being monitored and evaluated by others; this means that other people can influence how an individual behaves.” (Mann, 2016) [26] Thus, the collection of the biometric arousal can serve as a third eye system to observe the condition of people within a certain area.

Together, with collective anonymous biometric data of people’s inner arousal, we gain the opportunity to observe how people truly react within the area, by representing in a larger scale of visualization. And we may stimulate the rise of social awareness towards ourselves and the environment, in case we keep adapting and ignoring subconsciously to the gradually changing environment. With sensors attached, our body becomes an interface that communicates with our conscious mind and the environment, afterward, we start to review and regulate. However, it is critical to find a balance between the collective work and the privacy issue.

Recently, there is a news spreading on the internet indicates that China is building a system of digital dictatorship over its 1.4 billion citizens. For some people, the “social credit rating” system brings convenience — and for some people, it can lead to punishment. It sounds like a dystopian future has taken place in China. And this is creating or destroying people’s lives. The Communist Party of China called it a “social credit rating,” and said the system will be fully operational by 2020. A CCP official planning outlined that within a few years, the system would “enable the trustworthy to benefit everywhere and the untrustworthy will be difficult.” Regarding the factuality of the news, it is hard to imagine us living under the monitoring system tracking us everywhere we go. Personally, it is the last thing I want to see, there is a beauty of being human, being uncertain and being personal.

4.3 The environment within the physical environment

To strike a balance in this argument, the author and the collaborators have come to a conclusion, that is to build an environment within our physical environment. “The environment” is typically responding to the wearables which creates an opportunity to interact between the wearable and the installation. There is always “a wearable” and “an installation” that is a totally individual, two separated systems; in our case, we long for the wearable to be the assistant to communicate with the installation.

Many launched wearables go no further than the self-regulation, and the only interaction is personal. With EMO, the priority is to amplify the communications between one another and also claim the existence of the human in the physical world. Similar to the internet slangs or emoji, we encode our message into something non-verbal message, and after a process of learning, we are able to decode the message for understanding. EMO transmits the facial display into colors as a communication channel from the messenger to the receiver, it is a process of communication. Likewise, the installation acts as a nonverbal communication channel to communicate between the physical environment and people.

For the future projection, the installation will be made of cable ties as a set of the system with EMOs, it has an input either to detect the infrared light which causes by the bodily arousal or to collect the biometric data wirelessly through ESP-WROOM-32 from EMO individually. And the installation will perform accordingly to the data with movements and light projecting systems.

People tend to adapt themselves to the environment without questioning it, and this kind of biological instinct seeking for survival still exist. We attempt to blend in the environment as everyone else does. “Our ability to successfully adapt to such a diverse range of habitats is often explained in terms of our cognitive ability. Humans have relatively bigger brains and more computing power than other animals, and this allows us to figure out how to live in a wide range of environments.” (Boyd, Richerson and Henrich, 2011) [27] The thing is, the purpose of the built environment (installation) is not for people to accommodate to it but is the other way around. In the loop of the whole system, the wearers project their feelings from the social and the physical environment onto the wearables; and through the installation, it amplified the collective feelings from the wearers. Additionally, the messages from the installation give obvious clues for people to regulate themselves or to improve the outer environment, and to complete the loop.

CyberBirds Project/ Benoît Maubrey, 2009  How the wearables interact with the environment

Overviewing this whole system, it serves as an assistant or a bridge between human and the environment, furthermore, it may become a sixth limb for our human perception to catch up the things we ignore in our environment. With the intervention of this design, our story can be more diverse and it can draw our attention away from the routine procedure, and also the regulation emerges naturally that we could start to adapt to the new existence of the urban social awareness and hopefully social learning and caring.



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