Halley P. Profita, James Clawson, Scott Gilliland, Clint Zeagler, Thad Starner, Jim Budd, and Ellen Yi-Luen Do. 2013. Don’t mind me touching my wrist: a case study of interacting with on-body technology in public. In Proceedings of the 2013 International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC ’13).

This paper aims to study body interactions in the Public. Wearable tech, especially E-textile, introduces new kinds of on-body interactions. These interactions, however, are nontraditional. People might even find them uncomfortable to perform relative to time or place. These interactions might also be awkward for someone’s culture.

The authors aimed to answer these concerns by performing a survey-based study. The study involved two actors interacting with each other in a lift. One of the actors would be donning a wearable e-textile, who would receive a call and would reject it through the wearable. The third-party participant would view a video of this scene. The researchers conducted this study in the US and South Korea. The wearable e-textile used in this study was a jog wheel. They considered six different positions for the jog-wheel: collarbone, torso, waist, forearm, wrist and pocket. In each video, the actor would wear this textile in one of the six places. For a baseline, they also recorded videos of participants rejecting the call through their blackberry. After viewing the videos, the participant would answer eleven Likert scale questions from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree” on the wearable placement. The researchers asked some additional attitudinal questions on the perception and position of the e-textile. Finally, participants would answer a follow-up questionnaire; they provided open-ended responses to the two most and two least preferred locations. In the results, the US and Korea resembled at some places. There were gender differences with respect to wearable placement and interactions. Interactions were less socially acceptable around the male’s waist area and on the waist and upper body areas of women. The wrist and the forearm came out to be the two most common on-body places for both countries, probably because they are the most common places for a wearable. However, the authors did succeed in finding the differences across cultures. For Americans, the most common concern was accidental triggering, while it was the interface for Koreans. In the follow-up questionnaire, Americans preferred a system that was easy to operate, whereas only 6.9 per cent of Koreans felt the same. South Koreans preferred a system that avoided making the user look weird or awkward.

There are many avenues we can explore with the help of this study. For example, the lift had opposite genders interacting, one can view the differences if both the characters of the lift are of the same gender. As the focus of the study is to study interactions in public, situations with more than two characters might also bring new insights.