Mika Satomi (JP), Hannah Perner-Wilson (AT) Massage me

interactive installation, 2008

Massage me is an interface that channels a videogame player's excess kinetic energy into a back massage for an ‘innocent bystander’. The massage interface is a wearable device that turns the person wearing it into a game pad. Sensors embedded in the material of the wearable interface are capable of interpreting massage movement as the controls to play everyday video games.

Massaging someone is usually a boring task. If you're lucky the most you'll get after a lot of pleading is a five minutes back rub. The idea to make Massage me came from a brief conversation one evening, trying to solve the problem of how to get a nice long massage for free. We noticed the potential of gamers, obsessed individuals in our midst, whose fingers seem to contain an endless source of energy. Transferring the concept of massage into the gaming scenario enables an innocent bystander to receive that long desired ever lasting back massage. Now the addicted game player becomes an inexhaustible masseur.

Playing Massage me requires two people, one to wear the jacket and receive the massage and another to play the game and essentially give the massage. Soft flexible buttons made from layers of conductive fabric and perforated foam are embedded in the back of the jacket, turning wearer’s back into a gamepad. All the wearer needs to do is to sit or lay down in front of a video game player who will give them a back massage for as long as the game lasts.

Playing a video game with Massage me is also about having to deal with an alive component and questioning our current interaction with technology and one another. Involving the ‘innocent bystander’ which seems to be a by-product of many video games creates additional communication layer in the playing scenario.

Acknowledgement: Kunst Universität Linz, Interface Cultures, Bauhaus Universität Weimar, Ars Electronica Festival 2007

Mika Satomi (JP)

Mika Satomi is originally from Japan, currently a PhD candidate at Interface Culture, University of Art and Industrial Design Linz, Austria. She has studied Graphic Design at Tokyo Zokei University, and Media Art at IAMAS, Japan. In her research, she focuses on play theory, cyborg culture and practices in the field of wearable technology art.

Hannah Perner-Wilson (AT)

Hannah Perner-Wilson is interested in exploring alternative and seemingly bizarre human computer relations; she enjoys breaking technologies down to a basic level, from which she is able to develop her own interaction solutions and scenarios. She works on tangible, interactive and wearable technology projects.