Public spaces are made to be shared and accessible to the general public. As spaces for social lives and activities, public spaces act as the platform for spontaneous events to temporarily connect people. They are engaged with almost all human senses, including the five basic senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch – and along with the bodily senses of proprioception and kinesthesia.
This thesis proposes the inquiry of how to prompt new ways of social interaction in public space through multisensory digital experiences. Through establishing contextual information on public space, sensory and multisensory perception and studying research and design precedents that follow sensory design. This thesis then identifies potential design opportunities and begins with on site observation and pilot prototypes to experiment with modes of interaction and participation.
After reflecting on the initial explorations, I produced two redesigned prototypes — an interactive sound-material interface that uses artificial grass to defamiliarize natural materials, and a computer-vision enabled sand table interface for sound composition.