Physiological Computing as User-Centred Design for the 21st Century
Stephen H Fairclough
Liverpool John Moores University
The purpose of user-centred design is the creation of technology that reflects human capabilities and values. As we move into a 21st century populated by autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, the need for user-centred approaches is perhaps more urgent than ever before. Physiological computing systems enable closed-loop control by monitoring signals from brain and body during human-computer interaction. These data provide a statistical model of the user state, which informs a process of implicit adaptation at the interface. The current paper will present the biocybernetic model of physiological computing as a nascent form of user-centred control, where technologies adapt in real-time to dynamic fluctuations in user state. These closed-loops can be created in a variety of settings, from brain-computer interfaces to adaptive automation and robotics. By measuring and modelling the state of the user in real-time and using these data as the engine for implicit adaptation, physiological computing may represent the logical conclusion of the user-centred design method over the coming decades. The presentation will examine this idea by describing past research on physiological computing in the context of neurogaming and recommender systems. The potential benefits and pitfalls of this highly personalised form of interaction will be explored with particular emphases on: autonomous technology, machine learning, adaptive interfaces and data privacy.