Name, first nameNaz_Naddaf!Year of birth1995UniversityFHNWField of Interest / research fieldIconic ResearchTitle of projectThe Digital Senses: Awareness of our InteractionsAbstractThe Digital Senses:

Awareness of our Interactions
with Digital Objects



Our Aristotelian five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch – form a traditional model,
one that is debated and often criticized, yet engrained in our culture. Even more so, a sixth
sense is the term commonly used to describe additional modes of perception, though we are
well aware of their existence. The privileging of a particular sense over another has been a classic,
metaphysical theme debated upon within this model and, coupled with biology and neuroscience,
has lead to the knowledge that these senses interact with each other in complex ways to form our
temporal experiences. But one thing is fairly certain – we have advanced from Primates to become
conscious, self-identified, and driven beings through our external sensory apparatus, and thus,
through our heightened senses, that helped us investigate our surrounding world.

In the field of visual communication, this five-sense model is often used to create for our material world.
We can argue that a hierarchy of the senses, in this context, does exist: how we make meaning
through what we see, or with the eyes and the hands guiding perception. The fundamental form of
the book is a prime example of this. As designers of any kind for our material world, the notions
of tactility, functionality, and embodiment are all relevant and fall back on this model, with design
presumed to be more advanced once it becomes multi-sensory. ‘How can we see sound or taste
shapes?’ are questions visual communicators often pose, and bring into their workings.

We have had years of experience creating for our material world, but our visual bandwidth is now
changing; the information realm we have been creating is merely the result of a few decades. With the rise of what may be known as the ‘digital turn’, we are building a sort of alternate reality that lives on wide-screens and hand-held devices. We design content, interfaces, and tools to help experience and communicate with this realm, but in turn, we are also the designers of the computers’ sense-based response. It is only natural that the focus will remain on imitation rather than creation, as we are the sole creators of both these worlds – at least for the moment.

That being said, the relationship between the body and machine has reached a techno-sensual level of comfortable numbness; numbness to bodily positions, to tactile tools, to information reception. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to question how we can reconnect with or revitalize our senses when interacting with digital objects. Through what can be called sensory exaggeration, the practical work that accompanies the research challenges the notion of ‘standard’ digital experiences, namely our common interactions with personal computers and their complementary tools. The empirical nature of these experiments cannot propose new methods of designing for our digital world, but can create an incentive towards further investigating ways in which we become aware of what we are creating, how that affects our perception of digital objects and environments, and what that could mean for the future of human-computer interaction.
TutorsEisenmann, Susanne Käser, Hansmartin SiegristFileDownload file
The Digital Senses:  Awareness of our InteractionsThe Digital Senses:  Awareness of our Interactions