HoloLens 2 Interactions and Actions

Trying out the HoloLens 2 for the first time as I have never tried out AR glasses ever before.

The experience itself was very immersive and I had great fun playing a game after adjusting the glasses to my head and vision. While shooting robot spiders served the purpose of having fun and had nothing to do with the project itself or an education app, it was interesting to get to know the navigation of the interface and remember different commands for navigating through the experience. It brought my attention to think about signs in general and overlaps between signs of the navigation with sign language sings as well as the whole interaction with AR objects by using gestures.

own scribble

There are multiple human gestures and movements for free-form systems for navigating interfaces. I reviewed the book of Designing Gestural Interfaces by Dan Saffer from 2008. While this book was published more than ten years ago, it still helped to get an overview due to a lot of pages which showed pictures of a person doing different movements with the hands and the whole upper body so that for example the system is reacting by cooling the temperature down. It was a good first impression of the multiple possibilities that are given to interact with the body.

Today you can interact with the Holograms in many different basic actions and gestures like dragging, dropping, clicking, holding and releasing to get effects like scaling, rotating, repositioning and more. The hand-tracking in Microsoft HoloLens 2 provides instinctual interaction so that the user can select and position holograms by using direct touch as if he would touch it in real life. Other than the possibility of direct touching you can use hand rays to interact with holograms which are out of reach. I recognized that you have to get used to use your own body very quickly. For example you often want to open the menu so you have to tap on your arm. Another often used interaction in my experience was lifting the arm to set up the hand ray to then click on the holograms by putting the thumb and index finger together as seen above.

mrtk hand coach: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/design/hand-coach

Looking into the Interaction Guides from Microsoft you can see which components are or can be taught to the users and how users are guided to learn gestures. This is done by viewing a hand coach which is just a 3D modeled hand repeatedly showing the gesture until the user’s hands are detected by the system and starts to imitate the movement. This means if the user does not interact with the hologram/component for a period of time, the hand coach will start to demonstrate the correct hand and finger placement again until the user understands the process. Interesting for my project is to to how the user gets educated just by hands and it was helpful for me to get to know how I can create my own hand coach as these information are provided in this guidelines as well by naming programs like unity as well giving the opportunity to download an asset of the hands to create an own controller setup.

maya example hands asset: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/design/hand-coach

It needs practice to learn to navigate through these AR tools and systems but it becomes clear that in this scenario people show willingness and technical interest to imitate gestures to get control over something. They are willing to get used to the navigation through gestures and learn to get to know them after a while until they remember them completly. After stating the issue the SAIL team talks about in my last post about that the depth perception must be learned for first time learners who are not used to use the space in front of themselves or the own body to communicate, it gives me hope that by giving the right amount of information and instruction AR will help people to overcome the phase where they use their body for communication more easily if they are interested into learning new interaction methods.

Sources:

Saffer Dan: Designing Gestural Interfaces, 2008, p.210-232

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/mixed-reality/guides/authoring-gestures-hl2

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/design/hand-coach

Usability Evaluation | part 1

Usability evaluation methods deal with assessing the usability of a product. The main goal of evaluating usability is to define usability problems and obtain measures to make products more usable and pleasant to use. Since usability has already become a large part of the user experience (UX) and most of the methods can also be used to optimize more than just the usability, the following methods can also be called UX research methods.

Because of that, these methods can also be divided into qualitative and quantitative research.

Quantitative
Quantitative UX research is about putting numerical data to problems that can be modified to more usable statistics. Classical quantitative research methods include all types of surveys and polls. Although they started including a small amount of qualitative data, Google Analytics is also a big and important source for quantitative data, especially for digital products.

Qualitative
Qualitative UX research is about observations, user behavior, and the user’s perceptions. It involves collecting non-numerical data like text, audio, video, and images to understand the user experience in detail. This type of research is commonly used in all social sciences. Classical Qualitative research methods include interviews, observations, field studies, and also usability tests. According to Jakob Nielsen and William Bruce Cameron, you should also focus on qualitative research during UX projects because it often delivers more convincing results for less money.

“quantitative studies are usually too narrow to be fruitful and are oftentimes directly misleading.”

– Jakob Nielsen

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

– William Bruce Cameron

Because there are a lot of different UX research methods and each method has its own unique advantages and disadvantages there is no list of best UX research methods. It always depends on the goal of your usability evaluation, the time and budget you have, the target audience of your product, the stage of the process you are in, and many more factors.

To get a better overview about which UX research you could use for your product, Susan Farrell created the UX research cheat sheet. It should not work as a checklist, it just shows which methods are available along the design process.

source: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ux-research-cheat-sheet/

Usability Inspection Methods

Additionally to all the testing methods, there are also a number of different inspection methods available. Inspections are done by evaluators, usually usability professionals, and their main goal is to find usability problems in the design. Some inspections methods are also suitable for getting an overview about the usability of an entire system. Like the tests, these methods can also be performed early in the process of the project. Additionally to the following methods, you can also do a Heuristic Estimation but this method is not used very often.

Heuristic Evaluation

The heuristic evaluation is the most informal inspection method. Usability professionals identify where a product follows predefined usability principles (heuristics) and where it doesn’t. 

Heuristic evaluations are a quick and lower-cost way to measure the usability of a product before conducting user tests. They should be part of the process and used in conjunction with usability tests. According to a test conducted by Jedd Sauro, heuristics evaluations are able to detect between 30 and 50% of all usability issues, including all severe ones. Because this number also depends on the number of evaluators you should have about 3 to 5 professionals testing it to get the best value for your money.

Heuristics

The most well-known usability heuristics are based on the fifth chapter of Jakob Nielsen’s book “Usability Engineering” from 1993. Despite being nearly 30 years old, these guidelines are well established and still up-to-date. Jakob Nielsen has even slightly reworded them and added some newer examples last year.

But during a heuristic evaluation, a professional evaluator might also use different and more specific heuristic or additional product-related ones. Arnie Lund, Bruce Tognazzini, and Ben Shneiderman have also defined additional sets of heuristics. For modern apps, you can also use Apple’s Human Interface Guideline or Google’s Material Design Guidelines as Usability Heuristics.

Arniel Lunds “Expert Ratings of Usability Maxims”

Bruce Tognazzini’s “First Principles of Interaction Design”

Ben Shneiderman’s “Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design”

source: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/

The Process

The process of a heuristic evaluation is divided into three sections: Planning, Executing, and Reviewing.

Planning
Since it is a usability inspection method with clear objectives, you should plan your desired outcome in advance. Setting goals and understanding exactly what needs to be evaluated is one of the most important parts of the planning phase. The evaluators must also be aware of the demographics, needs, motivations, and behaviors of the target audience. Although there are no real users present during the evaluation, the usability professionals should always keep the users and the situation the product is used in mind. During the planning phase, it is also important to choose the number of evaluators – in this case ideally between 3 and 5 to get the most results for as little money as possible. Additionally, you should also define the set of heuristics you want to use for the inspection.

Executing
During this phase, the usability professionals are actually doing the inspection of the interface. They will go through the user flow and analyze all pages based on the previously defined heuristics. This part of the inspection is normally recorded to get the best result out of the evaluation and be able to see exactly where the problems are, what the attempted tasks were, why it is a problem and usually they are also suggesting different ways on how to fix the problems.

Reviewing
After the inspection, it is important that the experts are creating a list with all usability issues and additional findings that should be addressed. Ideally, these usability problems should also be rated and prioritized based on how severe they are. These results are normally presented in the form of a report that describes the process of the inspection, all usability problems, and different suggestions on how to fix them. This report, together with the recordings, should also be the basis for the next steps the project team is going to make.

Cognitive Walkthrough

During a cognitive walkthrough, one or more evaluators work through some tasks and a set of questions from the perspective of the user. The goal is to simulate the user’s problem-solving process. It was originally designed for ticket machines, ATMs, postal kiosks, or other interactive systems where users have little or no training before using the system. Currently, it is mainly used for evaluating the learnability of a system for new and occasional users.

Pluralistic Walkthrough

A pluralistic walkthrough is a group evaluation of a design where users are guided through tasks while designers and developers address their concerns or questions about the interface. This method works best in the very early stages of the design process with a paper prototype or rough wireframes.

Consistency Inspection

Consistency inspections are usually done by designers on larger projects. It is used to ensure that the interface does things the same on all pages. The ultimate goal of the consistency inspection is that it looks like one designer did the whole project and every element that does the same thing also looks and feels the same.

Feature Inspection

The feature inspection emphasizes the importance of functionality in order to achieve good usability. It identifies critical tasks a user would perform while using a system and the features that would be used to perform these tasks. After that process, the features are then evaluated.

Standards Inspection

For a standard inspection, you need an expert on an interface standard that has to inspect the whole interface for compliance with the standards. Good examples for standard inspections of apps include checking if the Apple Human Interface Guidelines or Google Material Design Guidelines are met. Another important standards inspection determines if the product complies with all the ISO standards.

Apple Human Interface Guidelines

Google Material Design Guidelines

ISO Standards

Formal usability inspection

A formal usability inspection combines different elements from the heuristic evaluation and from the cognitive walkthrough. It is a process with six steps and clearly defined roles for every expert on the team.

Competitive Review

A competitive review is a process where a usability expert analyzes a series of related websites or products from competitors or other companies from the same sector. The expert tries to look for strengths, weaknesses, trends and differences and identifies room for improvement for his/her own product. A competitive review is also possible with just a small portion of a website. For example if you are building a webshop you can take a closer look at amazon and their ordering process.

Resources

Books

Usability Engineering
Jakob Nielsen
1993

Articles

The Elements of Successful UX Design, Best Practises for Meaningful Products
UXPin
2015

Web

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/why-you-only-need-to-test-with-5-users/

https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/qualitative-research/

https://medium.muz.li/ux-research-methods-and-when-to-use-them-941f9e355083

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/which-ux-research-methods/

https://www.usabilitybok.org/cognitive-walkthrough

https://www.usabilitybok.org/pluralistic-walkthrough

https://www.usabilitybok.org/heuristic-walkthrough

https://www.brainbok.com/guide/pmp/glossary/heuristic-estimation/

https://usabilitygeek.com/heuristic-evaluation-introduction/

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/

https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/heuristic-evaluation

I got scammed!

Just recently I ordered a dress. Actually two dresses, but it was the same one just in different colors. You might wonder why? So, my sister is going to get married in August and I just fell in love with this dress at first sight.

It all started with a simple Instagram add and well, I just thought that nothing like this would ever happen to me, because I am way too smart and well educated for stuff like this (haha got a good reality check there). To be honest I was a little bit naive for believing that Instagram would do background checks on adds. Guess, what that is no happening! So, after clicking on the add I got forwarded to another page which seemed nice at the first sight.

https://www.lodielle.com/

I didn’t really read anything i just picked out the green and the blue variant of the dress and was super happy about the price, which should have been a broad hint, but well whatever. The next hint should have been that my credit card was declined three times, but hell I really wanted this dress. So, long story short, I asked my dad about his credit card and et voilà it worked.

Throughout all this time I did not even realize that something might be off about this page. I just was just wearing the so-called rose-colored glasses. The first time I got a bad feeling was when I did not receive an order confirmation, but still I really really wanted this dress so I just ignored it. Also, I told myself that this might be my own fault because I was deleting millions of e-mails like a crazy person this week and so maybe I just deleted it by accident.

However, after seemingly never ending three to four weeks of waiting for my holy grail I started suspecting something. Also did my father, who guess what, was not really happy about all of this. So, I decided to contact the customer support. Still hoping that there has just been some kind of mistake, but after receiving the first answer I kind of knew that something was just not the way it should be:

Dear customer, 

Thanks for your support and concern on our store.

Sorry for the inconvenience caused. The items are out of stock before, we have gathered some back and they arrived our warehouse today ,  we have wrapped it and will send it out within 3-5 days. The tracking number and tracking link would be emailed after shipment. Thank you for your patience.


Do., 22. Apr., 04:11

A week or so later, still no tracking number, no order number, no nothing. I wrote them again. This time I told them I would cancel the order and the payment and surprise surprise I got another answer from them including a tracking number and a site where I could track my package.

Once the order was shipped out, the tracking status will take a few days to be updated online by the shipper. 
Therefore, please hold on for 3-5 business days and try again later. 

Tracking number is UF850430075YP, this is tracking site: https://www.17track.net/en , you can follow it easily. 

Very sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.


05.05.2021, 04:33

If you click on this link you will get redirected to another page and if you then try to search for the tracking number, guess what, it will not be found. This was the point where my father and I actually tried to cancel the payment via the credit card institute just to find out that because of entering his 3D secure code the company can not do anything at all. As we learned, as soon as you enter you 3D secure code somewhere, you release the payment and there is no turning back.

Despite all of the previously mentioned stuff, I got another e-mail today with another tracking number etc.

26.05.2021 11:00 (vor 4 Stunden)

As you probably already thought, there is still no validation.

Sorry! No tracking info yet (or ever)

Long story short, I got scammed and now I have to find another dress for the wedding. Shit happens…

Correction: The dresses arrived, but guess that’s what feeling scammed feels like.

Call to action

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”. – A quote by Anna Lappe, author, and educator. She is known as an expert on food systems and sustainable food production. [1]

So thinking about “The call to action” for my campaign, I had to define what each consumer can do to support people in digital labor employments. How can consumers be a part of a change in the system? Money for sure is an option, but the idea that we as a society have to jump in financially is just not vindicated and would support the corrupt manner those companies live by.  Nothing less than a change in the system is needed, so companies have to follow certain standards, nevertheless they are selling a service online or offline. 

So telling people not to order from companies like Amazon or food delivery services might be a solution, but people also want to support their favorite restaurants during the pandemic or are forced to order stuff online because of lockdowns. Also, real people depend on the jobs, so stop consuming these services might not be the solution. 

So for the call to action, I came up with the idea of an online petition, people can sign and participate. In exchange for taking part and supporting full standards for digital labor, participants receive a sticker that they can put on their doors. As the “door” itself is a metaphor for closed opportunities, the sicker is a sign of opening up and supporting the delivery drivers. 

With the claim – I am open for change (+QR Code) – the sicker shows that people are aware of the worker’s situation and support them. 

[1] https://annalappe.com/about/

My own emotional branding case – Part 2

For my own emotional branding case, I decided to create an idea of a campaign for bringing the often harsh working conditions for employees of digital labor into the spotlight.

There are different kinds of digital labor, but I decided to focus on the often tough working conditions for delivery drivers. During the pandemic, people all over the world depended on their service, but still, they have not received the appreciation they deserve for their commitment especially in times like this. 

Due to the fact that the concept of digital labor is still new, a lot of companies that operate in the field try to find loopholes to save money on the costs of employing somebody. Therefore a lot of these workers aren’t fully ensured and often have to take care of their working gadgets, like transportation on their own.  

As a symbol of opportunity, the door is in the spotlight of my campaign. Delivery guys run the whole day from door to door, hand over packages or food deliveries. But those doors just open up just for a short moment to transfer goods. The same metaphor is used for the “door” to fair working conditions, and to receive a salary so people are able to make a living out of it. 

Pictures from www.unsplash.com

Designing an AR app

The more the app integrates with users environment the more magic the app feels

Start designing without a screen
When designing AR, the object will actually be outside of the phone. At least it should look like. So when thinking about an idea or the design of an AR app, it should be thought outside of the phone too. Watching people interacting with offline things makes it much easier to come up with an idea how AR could help. So google recommends to sketch first the whole environment and the situation happening there. Sketching the analog things the user would or is interacting with. Thinking outside of the phone frame.

Movement
Learn the user that he can move around. Since the users are used to 2D applications, it is a whole new world and important to take the users hand ans show him how this works. For example it could be possible to have little arrows on the screen edge, identifying that there is another object somewhere. With moving around the user will be able to see more.

Also make sure at the beginning how much movement is needed and more important how much room is required. It is worse case of a user starts playing a game and at the middle of the game he finds out that his living room is too small to complete it. Also if an application should be used outside, it is important to tell this the user first, before starting to use the application.

Give Feedback
It must be clear for the user what he needs to do and how to interact with the 3D object. For example when coming too close to the object, the user needs to learn that this is not a way to interact. For example if the camera gehts darker or blurred the user knows that this is the wrong way.

Also when placing an Object, it is important to make sure where this object will land or which surface is detected. This can be done for example with having a shadow under the object.

It is helpful to have a darker transparent layer between the camera (background) and the displayed AR elements. This helps to differ between real elements and AR elements, especially at daylight it is helpful to give a better experience.

Less UI is more
There are multiple reasons why you should never overload an app with UI and controls but for AR apps it is even more important! First because the user should focus on the scene and what is happening with the 3D objects and second because it just takes view. The smartphone screens are so little and if there are too many controls the screen for the actual content will shrink and shrink. So only display UI controls if the have a high frequency of use or if they require fast access.

Best practices to design AR applications

Cross-correlation

The second type of signal correlation is the cross-correlation.

In this case, it is a measurement that tracks the data in a time-series of two or more signals relative to one another.

It is used to compare multiple time series and objectively determine how much resemblance exists between them and, in particular, at what point the best match occurs.

To be more precise, in signal processing, “cross-correlation is a measure of similarity of two series as a function of the displacement of one relative to the other.”

This type of correlation is also called sliding dot product or sliding inner-product.

It has various applications, such as in pattern recognition, single particle analysis, electron tomography, averaging, cryptanalysis, and neurophysiology.

A good way to find the cross-correlation is to use graphics.

It works like the autocorrelation, thus we have a reference signal, and a second signal is shifted sample by sample to the right at every interval, and every time those signal are firstly multiplied and, secondly, the result is summed.

Here is an example: [1]

In the first line is represented our reference signal, in the second one the signal we want to compare with. As the samples are sliding frame by frame, the digital values of the signal are being multiplied, then their result is summed.

We got those values: -6, 13, -8, 8, -5, 1, -1.

8 is the zeroth sample, this means that the two signal are fully overlapped, no sample is left behind.

Yet, the highest peak is 13, when only the last two samples of the second signal is correlated with the first two of the reference signal. This is due to the fact that, in this case, the signals overlap at its best, as the samples of the two are identical.

References

[1] H.L. Sneha: Understanding Correlation. 2017

[2] Wikipedia – Cross Correlation.

Ambivalenz der Mensch-Natur-Beziehung

Es gibt nicht nur zwischen Natur und Mensch, sondern auch zwischen Natur, Mensch und Film etliche Berührungspunkte und Zusammenhänge. Dabei stellt sich die Frage, inwiefern die Rolle der Natur im Leben der Menschen auch den Umgang der Menschen mit der Natur im Film beeinflusst.

1. Definition von Natur

Zunächst gilt es zu erörtern, wofür Natur eigentlich steht, was dieser Begriff umfasst – und was nicht. Die Definition des Begriffs „Natur“ beinhaltet nämlich diverse Bedeutungen.

In erster Linie bezeichnet Natur „organische und anorganische Erscheinungen[,die] ohne Zutun des Menschen existiert oder sich entwickel[n]“ [16]. Als anorganisch bzw. unbelebt werden hierbei „Boden, Wasser, Wetter, Klima, Luft, Sonnenlicht, Atmosphäre, Wärme, Temperatur, Strömungen, chemische Stoffe, kosmische Einflüsse“ verstanden [3, S. 6]. Organische bzw. belebte Natur beinhaltet Fauna und Flora, sprich sämtliche Pflanzen und Tiere bzw. Lebewesen [7, S. 208] – also auch Menschen.

In Bezug auf „ohne das Zutun des Menschen“ ist zu betonen, dass selbst artifizielle Erscheinungen der Natur als Natur zu definieren sind. So zählen beispielsweise Zimmerpflanzen oder Parks ebenfalls zum Naturbegriff, auch wenn sie durch Menschen gestaltet, konstruiert, reguliert und instand gehalten werden. Ausschlaggebend hierfür ist die Möglichkeit zur Naturerfahrung durch visuelle Eindrücke oder Interaktionen. In diesem Sinne kann der Mensch Natur auch mithilfe von Fotos, Filmen oder gar in Virtual Reality Setups erfahren. [7, S. 208]

Natur kann aber auch dadurch definiert werden, was Natur nicht ist. So verwendet Gloy etwa folgende Kontrastbegriffe, um den Naturbegriff weiter einzugrenzen: Natur – Geist, Natur – Vernunft, Natur – Kunst, Natur – Technik. Dies unterstreicht den eingangs erwähnten Aspekt, dass Natur alles umfasst, das „ohne menschlichen Willen und ohne menschliches Zutun von sich aus existieren, erzeugt werden oder entstehen und sich erhalten“ kann. [6, S. 23]

Besonders hervorzuheben ist hierbei „ohne menschliches Zutun“ – schließt es den Menschen als solchen nicht vom Naturbegriff aus. Er ist als „körperliches Wesen [. . . ] über materielle und energetische Austauschprozesse mit der physikalischen Umwelt untrennbar verbunden“ [3, S. 3].

Den Mensch ausschließlich als Teil der Natur zu bezeichnen, ist jedoch unvollständig. Schließlich fungiert er laut Kattmann mit seinen Fähigkeiten als „Gestalter und Veränderer“ der Natur, bleibt aber „unentrinnbar als Lebewesen Teil von ihr“. Der Mensch ist demnach „immer zugleich sowohl Teil als auch Gegenüber der Natur“ [9, S. 3].

Da der Fokus dieser Arbeit auf den beiden einzelnen Aspekten liegt, also sowohl dem Mensch, als auch der Natur, sind diese folglich auch begrifflich voneinander zu unterscheiden. Alleine schon im sprachlichen Ausdruck „Mensch und Natur“ ergibt sich eine Gegenüberstellung der beiden [4, S. 41]. Der Mensch steht also im klaren Gegensatz zur restlichen, nichtmenschlichen Natur.

Letztlich ist noch eine weitere Definition vom Begriff „Natur“ relevant – nämlich jene der Natur im Sinne von Wesenszügen bzw. „geistige[n], seelische[n], körperliche[n] oder biologische[n] Eigentümlichkeit[en]“ in Bezug auf das Verhalten von Menschen und Tieren [16].

2. Menschliche Verbundenheit und Abgrenzung zur Natur

Die Beziehung zwischen Mensch und Natur basiert, wie zuvor (siehe Abschnitt 1) bereits angedeutet, auf einem ambivalenten Verhältnis. In erster Linie nimmt der Mensch in seinem Verhältnis zur Natur eine Doppelrolle ein: Zum einen gilt der Mensch als Teil der Natur, zum anderen steht er ihr gegenüber [9].

Doch auch weitere Verbindungsfelder zwischen Mensch und Natur sind wechselseitig geprägt. Die Natur- und Selbstinterpretation bzw. Wahrnehmung steht in einer grundsätzlichen Wechselwirkung zueinander als dass sie einander gegenseitig beeinflussen. Ebenso ist die Rückkehr zur Natur erst durch die vorangehende Entfernung von der Natur möglich.

2.1 Animismus

Lange Zeit ging man von einer „Verwandtschaft“ der Menschen mit der nichtmenschlichen Umwelt aus. Der sogenannte Animismus galt als die universale Weltauffassung der Menschen. Der Begriff Animismus hat einige Bedeutungen und Kontexte, ist aber hauptsächlich vom Glaube an die Beseeltheit von Dingen geprägt [14]. Erst durch die Entwicklung der Naturwissenschaften wurde zwischen menschlich und nichtmenschlich unterschieden. Dadurch wurden animistisches bzw. anthropomorphes (Anthropomorphismus bezeichnet die „Übertragung menschlicher Eigenschaften auf Nichtmenschliches“ [15]) Denken schließlich aufgegeben. [4, S. 19]

Dennoch ist uns diese Weltauffassung erhalten geblieben – zumindest im kindlichen Animismus. So befinden sich Kinder zunächst in einem mentalen Entwicklungsstadium, in dem sie (aus Erwachsenen-Sicht leblosen) Körpern und Gegenständen sehrwohl Lebendigkeit, Bewusstsein und einen eigenen Willen zuschreiben. [11, S. 145 ff.]

2.2 Kindliche Natur-Verbundenheit und Identitätsfindung

In Hinsicht auf die Mensch-Natur-Beziehung ist nicht nur die Beseelung bzw. Vermenschlichung von Nichtmenschlichem (konkret: der Natur) eine interessante, kindliche Auffassung, sondern auch die der Verbindung zur Natur selbst. Kleinkinder nehmen sich als eins mit ihrer Mutter, aber auch mit dem nichtmenschlichen Umfeld wahr [13, S. 30]. Erst im Laufe ihrer Entwicklung können sie zwischen der eigenen Identität und ihrer menschlichen sowie nichtmenschlichen Umwelt unterscheiden [4, S. 22].

Diese empfundene Verbundenheit zur Umwelt stellt auch im Erwachsenenalter eine zentrale Rolle zur emotionalen Orientierung dar [4, S. 27]. Searles beschreibt diese Verwandtschaft wie folgt:

„It is my conviction that there is within the human individual a sense, whether at a conscious or unconscious level of relatedness to his nonhuman environment, that this relatedness is one of the transcendentally important facts of human living, that [. . . ] it is source of ambivalent feelings to him, and that finally, if he tries to ignore its importance to himself, he does so at peril to his psychological well-being.“ [13, S. 5–6]

Dieses „Gefühl der Verwandtschaft“ beruht auf der Erinnerung an die kindliche Verbundenheit mit der Umwelt. Erst das Ablegen der kindlichen Verbundenheit und das Erlangen dieses reifen Verwandtschafts-Gefühl schafft Raum für Wahrnehmung der eigenen menschlichen Individualität – und der eigenen Identität, nämlich durch Abgrenzung von unserer Umwelt. [4, S. 27]

2.3 Natur- und Selbstinterpretation

Gebhard beschreibt das „Selbst-Natur-Sein“ als fundamental, da das Verhältnis zu einem selbst mit dem Verhältnis zur Natur einhergeht [4, S. 41]; Böhme spricht sogar davon, dass „die Naturbeziehung zu einer Selbstbeziehung des Menschen wird“ [2, S. 53]. Schelling dazu:

„Solange ich selbst mit der Natur identisch bin, verstehe ich was eine lebendige Natur ist so gut, als ich mein eigenes Leben verstehe; [. . . ] sobald ich aber mich [. . . ] von der Natur trenne, bleibt mir nichts übrig als ein todtes [sic] Objekt und ich höre auf, zu begreifen, wie ein Leben außer mir möglich sey [sic].“ [12, S. 40]

Anstatt zu versuchen, Natur objektiv zu definieren, ruft Gebhard zur Interpretation der individuellen Bedeutung der Natur für einen selbst auf. „Naturbeziehung und Naturwahrnehmung setzt Naturinterpretation voraus.“ In dieser Form der Natur- und Selbstwahrnehmung sei es wichtig, „wie sich äußere Natur in der inneren Natur des Menschen repräsentiert“. [4, S. 42–43] So fungiert die Natur als Spiegel von uns selbst und lädt dazu ein, sich selbst darin wieder zu finden und zu erkennen. Selbstdeutungen wie „verwurzelt wie ein Baum“ oder „frei wie ein Vogel/der Wind“ bezeichnet Gebhard als „physiomorphe Interpretationen“. Insgesamt dienen also die Symbole der Natur als Mittel zur (Selbst-)Interpretation. [4, S. 38, 106]

Im Sinne der Gleichbedeutung und des Zusammenhanges dieses Natur- und Selbstverhältnisses kann es keine klare Trennung zwischen der inneren Natur des Menschen und der äußeren Natur geben. „Die äußere Natur beeinflusst immer auch die innere, psychische Natur des Menschen und umgekehrt.“ [5, S. 243-267]

3. Positive Effekte der Natur auf den Menschen

Ebendiese Wechselwirkung, in der die äußere und innere Natur eines Menschen zueinander steht, ist entscheidend für mögliche, positive Effekte, die die Natur auf den Menschen haben kann.

Im Sinne der genannten Wahrnehmung und Interpretation von gleichermaßen der Natur und einem selbst sticht natürlich der psychologische Effekt stark heraus. Die intensive Beschäftigung mit der Natur hilft, sich selbst zu verstehen, wie etwa Schelling zu entnehmen ist.

Auch Searles beschreibt die Natur als die wichtigste Zutat der menschlichen Psyche und dass das Ignorieren dieser Wichtigkeit zu Kosten des eigenen, psychischen Wohlbefindens geht [13, S. 5–6]. Zu den positiven Effekten bei Kontakt mit lebendiger Natur streicht er Linderung von schmerzhaften und angstbesetzten Gefühlszuständen, Förderung der Selbstverwirklichung, Vertiefung des Realitätsgefühls und die Unterstützung der [. . . ] positiven Einstellung zu den Mitmenschen [4, S. 27].

Hartig ergänzt dies um die Steigerung der Leistungsfähigkeit und des subjektiven Wohlbefindens, permanente, körperliche Veränderungen sowie Morbidität, Mortalität und Langlebigkeit [7, S. 213].

Es gibt zahlreiche andere Studien und Literatur, die die positiven Effekte der Natur auf Menschen untersuchen und belegen. Der Fokus liegt hierbei meist auf Luftqualität, physischer Aktivität, sozialem Zusammenhalt und Stressreduktion [7, S. 212].

Dass eine „reiche und nahe Beziehung“ zur Natur sich positiv auf den Menschen auswirkt, ist laut Gebhard unbestritten [4, S. 27]. Unklar ist allerdings, welche Umwelt (sprich von welcher Qualität und wie viel) der Mensch braucht, um gesund zu bleiben [4, S. 74]. Gebhard beschreibt aber in diesen Zusammenhang eine zumindest „vielfältige und intakte äußere Natur“ [4, S. 39].

4 .Entfernung von und Rückkehr zu der Natur

Trotz all dieser positiven Effekte, die Interaktionen mit der Natur mit sich bringen, haben wir uns als Gesellschaft unweigerlich von der Natur entfernt. Dies wurde historisch in erster Linie durch die Entwicklung von Naturwissenschaften und Technik möglich, als der Mensch sich von der restlichen, nichtmenschlichen Umwelt loslöste und zum Individuum wurde [4, S. 43]. Durch die weitere Entwicklung der Gesellschaft wurde diese Entfernung schließlich intensiviert.

Einst musste man sich vor der „wilden Natur“ schützen – etwa vor potentiell gefährlichen Tieren oder Wettereinflüssen. Durch das Bauen von Hütten konnte man diesen Bedrohungen Abhilfe schaffen.

Die damit einhergehende, weitreichende Zivilisation und die daraus resultierende Abwendung von der Natur hatte schließlich zur Folge, dass wir uns wieder mehr danach sehnen. Denn ein Bedürfnis nach etwas kann erst entstehen, wenn ein Mangel daran besteht [4, S. 43].

Bereits Jean-Jacques Rousseau hat im 18. Jahrhundert auf diese Entfernung von der Natur hingewiesen. Er begründet in der widernatürlich Vergesellschaftung und der übermäßigen Kultivierung die Boshaftigkeit und Selbstsucht des Menschens, und forderte auf, die Ziviliserung zurückzuschrauben [3, S. 1]. Seither hat sich der Mensch jedoch noch stärker zivilisiert und durch Globalisierung und Erbauung von Städten noch weiter von der Natur entfernt.

Im Laufe der Zeit hat sich die Wahrnehmung der Natur bedeutend gewandelt. Die einst „wilde Natur“, vor der man sich schützen versuchte, wich einer romantisierten Idealisierung der Natur. Dabei werden etwaiige Bedrohungen der Natur ausgeblendet und die utopische Vorstellung einer paradiesischen Natur hervorgehoben. [4]

Durch diese Vorstellung der Natur erhofft man sich laut Böhme „Erlösung von der Last und Beengung zivilisierten Lebens“ [1, S. 61]. Diese Sehnsucht kann somit als authentische Gegenerfahrung zur modernen Zivilisation verstanden werden [10, S. 10]. Bedürfnisse nach Unentfremdheit, Ganzheit und Glück sollen durch das Erleben von Natur gestillt werden [4, S. 43].

Kirchhoff et al schreiben über den Drang nach draußen in der zeitgenössischen Freizeitkultur. Zusätzlich zur Romantisierung der Natur und dem Genuss ihrer Schönheit gibt es auch die Sehnsucht nach der wilden Natur. Potentielle Gefahren und Herausforderungen haben dabei ihren Reiz, da sie Möglichkeit zur Überwindung bieten. Im Erleben von wilder Natur können Menschen Erhabenheit, Urprünglichkeit und Triebhaftigkeit ausleben. [10, S. 14]. Weitere Assoziationen mit der Natur sind Unabhängigkeit und Freiheit, die der Mensch in der Natur sucht [4, S. 95].

Schon der Romantiker Jean Paul definierte vier Gründe, Zeit in der Natur zu verbringen: Eitelkeit, Verbesserung der Gesundheit, Genuss der landschaftlichen Schönheit sowie als Medium um sich in „übernatürliche, göttliche Sphären“ zu erheben [10, S. 13].

Auf letzteres deutet bereits Kants Annahme hin, dass das Interesse am Naturschönen und die moralische Gesinnung, bzw. die „Veredlung des Menschen“, im Zusammenhang stünden [4, S. 12, 115]. Die Wertschätzung der Schönheit der Natur sei „Kennzeichen guter Seele“, da damit Dankbarkeit für diese Schönheit einhergehen soll [8, S. 395].

Im heutigen Diskurs der Naturästhetik hofft man darauf, dass durch die Wahrnehmung der Schönheit der Natur diese als schützenswert erscheint [4, S. 115], was angesichts der voranschreitenden Zerstörung der Natur notwendig wäre.

Ob das zeitgenössische Umweltbewusstsein rein auf ästhetischen bzw. Sehnsuchts-basierten, oder doch auch auf moralischen Gründen beruht, ist unklar. Auffallend ist aber eine Zunahme des gesellschaftlichen Umweltbewusstseins. Zwar gab es bereits immer wieder Bewegungen für mehr Umweltbewusstsein, doch erst die Bewegung Fridays for Future hat 2019 ein noch nie dagewesenes mediales und gesellschaftliches Interesse am Erhalt unserer Umwelt hervorgerufen.

Gebhard kritisiert jenes Missverhältnis, dass die „deutlich positiv getönte Natursymbolik die Menschen nicht gehindert hat, die konkrete Natur zu zerstören“ [4, S. 43].

Wie in Abschnitt 1.2.3 bereits behandelt, kann die Naturbeziehung auch als Selbstbeziehung gesehen werden. Die Natur fungiert als Spiegel zu uns selbst, daher dient der Schutz und Erhalt der Natur auch dem Schutz und Erhalt von uns selbst. Glaubte Kant also noch an edle, moralische Gründe für das Interesse an der Natur, so könnte Naturschutz auch nicht zuletzt auch eigennützig verstanden werden.

Die Entfernung von und die Rückkehr zur Natur lässt sich allerdings auch simpel durch ebendiese generelle Beziehung zwischen Mensch und Natur verstehen. Searles beschreibt den inneren Konflikt des Menschen, wonach er sich einerseits danach sehnt, eins mit der nichtmenschlichen Natur zu werden, und andererseits die Angst davor und den damit einhergehenden Verlust der eigenen, menschlichen Individualität. He is grounded in Nature, and yet is unbridgeably apart from it.“ [13, S. 104]

Quellen:

Literatur
[1] Gernot Böhme. Für eine ökologische Naturästhetik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1989 (siehe S. 5).

[2] Gernot Böhme. Natürlich Natur: Über Natur im Zeitalter ihrer technischen Reproduzierbarkeit. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1992 (siehe S. 4).

[3] Antje Flade. Zurück Zur Natur? Wiesbaden: Springer, 2018 (siehe S. 1, 2, 5).

[4] Ulrich Gebhard. Kind und Natur: die Bedeutung der Natur für die psychische Entwicklung. Wiesbaden: Springer-Verlag, 2013 (siehe S. 2–6).

[5] Ulrich Gebhard. „Naturverhältnis und Selbstverhältnis“. Scheidewege 35.2005 (2005), S. 243–267 (siehe S. 4).

[6] Karen Gloy. Das Verständnis der Natur: Die Geschichte des wissenschaftlichen Denkens. Bd. 1. München: CH Beck, 1995 (siehe S. 2).

[7] Terry Hartig u. a. „Nature and health“. Annual review of public health 35 (2014), S. 207–228 (siehe S. 1, 4, 5).

[8] Immanuel Kant. Kritik der Urteilskraft, Werkausgabe Bd. Frankfurt:Suhrkamp, 1977 (siehe S. 6).

[9] Ulrich Kattmann. „Der Mensch in der Natur: Die Doppelrolle des Menschen als Schlüssel für Tier-und Umweltethik“. Ethik und Sozialwissenschaften 8.2 (1997), S. 123–131 (siehe S. 2).

[10] Thomas Kirchhoff, Vera Vicenzotti und Annette Voigt. Sehnsucht nach Natur: Über den Drang nach draußen in der heutigen Freizeitkultur. Bd. 15. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2014 (siehe S. 5, 6).

[11] Jean Piaget. Das Weltbild des Kindes. Bd. 35004. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1978 (siehe S. 3).

[12] Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur: als Einleitung in das Studium dieser Wissenschaft. Norderstedt: BoD–Books on Demand, 2016 (siehe S. 4).

[13] Harold F. Searles. The nonhuman environment in normal development and schizophrenia. Madison: International Universities Press, 1960 (siehe S. 3, 4, 7).

Online-Quellen

[14] Wikipediaredaktion (o. J.) „Animismus“. o.D. url: https : / / de .
wikipedia.org/wiki/Animismus (siehe S. 3).

[15] Wikipediaredaktion (o. J.) „Anthropomorphism“. o.D. url: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism (siehe S. 3).

[16] Wikipediaredaktion (o. J.) „Natur“. o.D. url: https://de.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Natur (siehe S. 1, 2).

Autocorrelation

What is it? Correlation normally describes the mutual relationship that exists between two or more things.

In statistics, it referred to any association which, considering a pair of variables, refers to which degree they are linearly related.

We could also say the same thing in the context of signals, where the correlation between signal indicates how much one signal resembles another.

There are 2 types of correlation in signal processing: autocorrelation and cross-correlation.

When the signal is correlated with itself, it’s called autocorrelation. In this case the signal is mostly compared with its time-shifted version.

One way of computing it is through the graphic technique.

Considering the first digital signal, already represented graphically, we then shift sample by sample the second signal at each interval, overlapping it with the first one. The results are continuous multiplication and addition.

This process is well represented in this image: [1]

As we can easily imagine, the first row represents the given signal, our reference one. The second row represents its time-shifted version, compared sample by sample to the reference one. The third row is the result of the multiplication of the first two rows and the red number is their sum.

So, we got those results: -1, 0, 6, 0, -1.

The maximum value is obtained when the overlapping signal best matches the reference one, therefore, in this case, when the time-shift is exactly zero, as there will always be a peak at a lag of zero in an autocorrelation. Also, its size will be the energy of the signal.

References

[1] H.L. Sneha: Understanding Correlation. 2017

[2] Wikipedia – Correlation

What is left if nothing is there.

“Negative space gives the observer some breathing room, a place to relax before moving on. The negative space in a composition may also help to shift the eye of the observer from a void to a place of focus. East Asian art effectively made use of the concept of emptiness.

Negative space is the empty space around the positive image of a painting, a photo, even within a garden. Negative space is far from empty. Negative space can form an artistically interesting shape, and may be the real subject of an image.

Negative space in Japanese is yohaku no bi,  余白の美, i.e. the beauty of a white space. Negative space is used in sumi-e paintings as well as in other art of Japan and China. It is this aesthetic that influenced the simple tatamis and shoji in a Japanese home. I am especially a fan of the white walls, aromatic grass tatami, and shoji that divide the rooms and allow a diffused light to come in from the outside. The Japanese admire a space between, also calling itma, 間, or aida, a kanji used in everyday Japanese to mean inbetween.

19th and 20th century modern European painters used yohaku no bi in their paintings. After 1854 when the Japanese were forced to open their borders after 250 years of strict isolation, Japanese prints, paintings, and fine pottery were sent to Europe and North America. Europeans were ecstatic to see these ‘exotic’ new pieces of art and bought all they could find. Van Gogh, Paul Gaugin, Monet, Mary Cassatt, and Edgar Degas copied the styles from Japan. Later Dalí incorporated these ideas into his work.

It is this admiration of negative space, that has led to an appreciation in the West of the minimalism seen in Asian art and perceived life style. Yohaku no bi is the aesthetic that influenced Japanese author, Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011).” – Maureen Fitzmahan

Traditional Japanese souvenirs placed on wooden table