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Philosophies 2016, 1(1), 55-67; doi:10.3390/philosophies1010055

An Interdisciplinary Approach on the Mediating Character of Technologies for Recognizing Human Activity

1
Research Training Group Topology of Technology, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Dolivostrasse 15, Darmstadt 64289, Germany
2
Embedded Systems, Universität Freiburg, Georges-Köhler-Allee 10, Freiburg 79085, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincent C. Müller
Received: 10 August 2015 / Revised: 18 November 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 27 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computing and Philosophy: Papers from IACAP 2014)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [454 KB, uploaded 9 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

In this paper, we introduce a research project on investigating the relation of computers and humans in the field of wearable activity recognition. We use an interdisciplinary approach, combining general philosophical assumptions on the mediating character of technology with the current computer science design practice. Wearable activity recognition is about computer systems which automatically detect human actions. Of special relevance for our research project are applications using wearable activity recognition for self-tracking and self-reflection, for instance by tracking personal activity data like sports. We assume that activity recognition is providing a new perspective on human actions; this perspective is mediated by the recognition process, which includes the recognition models and algorithms chosen by the designer, and the visualization to the user. We analyze this mediating character with two concepts which are both based on phenomenological thoughts namely first Peter-Paul Verbeek’s theory on human-technology relations and second the ideas of embodied interaction. Embedded in the concepts is a direction which leads to the role of technical design in how technology mediates. Regarding this direction, we discuss two case studies, both in the possible using practice of self-tracking and the design practice. This paper ends with prospects towards a better design, how the technologies should be designed to support self-reflection in a valuable and responsible way. View Full-Text
Keywords: activity recognition; wearables; interdisciplinary approach; quantified self; philosophy of technology; ubiquitous computing; technological mediation activity recognition; wearables; interdisciplinary approach; quantified self; philosophy of technology; ubiquitous computing; technological mediation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Dietrich, M.; van Laerhoven, K. An Interdisciplinary Approach on the Mediating Character of Technologies for Recognizing Human Activity. Philosophies 2016, 1, 55-67.

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