For many of us, the past couple months have been summertime, with warm weather and maybe some time off. When the weather isnice, we spend more time outdoors—perhaps there is even time to read
Interactions in the garden! To beoutdoors in nature has long been seenas a healing activity. It calms our soulsand reduces stress; nature actuallychanges our minds. An equallycommon belief is that technologyhas the opposite effect, causing us allkinds of health issues. In our coverstory, “Nature vs. Smartphones,”Richard Coyne investigates therelationship between new technologyand how we interact with nature.
Can technology help us to approach
nature? Can it support our experience
of nature? Coyne writes, “Many people
suspicious of smartphones and other
digital technologies think that for
all their utility, they place a barrier
between us and the outdoors.” He
does not provide a simple answer but
rather makes the question of nature
versus smartphones richer and less
predictable for people involved in
the design of interactive artifacts
and systems. Coyne is a professor
in architectural computing at the
University of Edinburgh and has
been a leading researcher in the
overlapping fields of architecture,
digital media, information technology,
and philosophy. He has published
several books, among them The Tuning
of Place: Sociable Spaces and Pervasive
Digital Media (MIT Press 2010). We
hope his story will lead to discussions
about how HCI relates to nature.
In this issue, the Demo Hour pagesare filled with exciting prototypes anddesigns that were presented at the CHIconference in Toronto earlier this year.
Take a look and get inspired!
We have now run the sections WhatAre You Reading? and How Was ItMade? in a few issues of the magazine.
From the comments we get, it seemsas if these new sections are popular. Ifyou feel an urge to contribute to eitherof these, just let us know.
There are some changes to the
magazine that we'd like to mention.
The Sustainability in (Inter)Action
forum has two new editors, Lisa
Nathan and Samuel Mann. Their
goal for the forum is to “highlight
innovative thought, design, and
research in the area of interaction
design and sustainability, illustrating
the diversity of approaches across HCI
communities.” We welcome Lisa and
Samuel to Interactions and are looking
forward to exciting articles in this
field. We also want to recognize Elaine
Huang, who has stepped down as the
editor of the sustainability forum after
three years. Thanks, Elaine, for all the
work you have done for Interactions!
Don’t forget to visit the Interactions
website ( http://interactions.acm.
org/). Our bloggers are eager to getyour feedback on their posts. And ifyou comment on a blog post, we willtry to publish your thoughts in anupcoming issue of the magazine.
Finally, we would like to invite youto write for Interactions. We are alwayslooking for manuscripts that would besuitable for a broader audience.
Ron Wakkary and Erik Stolterman
Can technology help us toapproach nature? Can it supportour experience of nature?
HCI and Nature
SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 2014 INTERACTIONS 5
Ron Wakkary Erik Stolterman