Kyung Yun Choi Dissertation Defense


Kyung Yun Choi

Kyung Yun Choi

Dissertation Title:  Tangible Telepresence: Distributed and Synchronous Tangible Interfaces for Enhancing Self and Interpersonal Connectedness over Time and Space

Abstract: Communication is more than just transmitting information; it also involves conveying emotions, touch, and non-verbal cues that foster interpersonal connection and empathy. Social connectedness encompasses the positive experiences and relationships individuals have with others in the social world. It reflects the feeling of closeness and enduring interpersonal bonds, which significantly impact mental and physical health. Tangible interactions and tactile communications enhance feelings of presence and social connectedness. However, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, tangible interactions and non-verbal communications in physical co-location have become challenging.

This defense introduces the concept of Tangible Telepresence, which aims to create a sense of physical and social presence in the real world over distance and time to reduce psychological distance. I propose distributed and synchronous (or pseudo-synchronous) tangible interfaces, called TeleTangibles, to expand the bandwidth of interpersonal communication media and enhance self and interpersonal awareness. This work explores the interaction spaces of TeleTangibles and presents its design framework. Accordingly, I introduce the design requirements to achieve the goal of TeleTangibles as a means of providing tangible telepresence and enhancing personal and dyadic connectedness.

To demonstrate examples of the interaction space of TeleTangibles, this defense covers three projects: 1) designing and evaluating an on-body haptic interface to enhance self-connectedness, 2) developing a distributed shape-changing modular interface for remote tangible communication and presence through programmable shapes, and 3) crafting tangible gestures with a paired kinetic interface using programmable, replayable, and shareable motions. Through the development and evaluation of TeleTangibles, this work demonstrates the potential to bridge the remote communication gap in tangible interactions and social presence, thereby enhancing the feeling of connectedness and enriching playful interpersonal remote interaction media.

Committee members: 

Hiroshi Ishii, Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT Media Lab
Kimiko Ryokai, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley School of Information and Berkeley Center for New Media
Marcelo Coelho, Head of Design, Formlabs, and Faculty, MIT Department of Architecture

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