Wednesday, July 8, 2009

At Arm's Length

Since humans first developed rudimentary tools to solve simple problems, we've felt very comfortable and seemingly attached to useful handheld items. A recent study offers a potential explanation as to why we so easily utilize inanimate objects to solve countless problems and to better our lives. The investigation concludes that it's likely that our minds perceive handheld mechanical tools as natural extensions of our arms, as actual continuations of our anatomy.

"The brain maintains a physical map of the body, with different areas in charge of different body parts. Researchers have suggested that when we use tools, our brains incorporate them into this map."

This makes a lot of sense. It also potentially explains consumer behavior and technology adoption patterns. Our physiology could be the reason that the personal computer truly experienced rapid acceptance when the mouse was attached as a standard interaction-feature (a much more handheld tool than the keyboard). This could also partly explain why mobile communication, with the mobile handset, has so quickly spread to surpass personal computer penetration or why the Nintendo Wii is so revolutionary for gaming.

It's pretty obvious that a lot more handheld gadgets will soon be available, and now we know that our anatomy is already prepared.
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