A new game with embodied technology jolts us out of our familiar habits.

Contrary to what some commentators seem to think, social avoidance is not just a product of the digital age. For at least as long as cramped elevators and other disconcertingly confining environments have existed in office buildings, people have found new ways to avoid eye contact and thus avoid small talk with co-workers:  “In the years before smartphones, riders were forced to inspect their clothes, study their visage in reflective ceiling above, and when all else failed, simply stare fixedly at the floor,” writes Kyle Vanhemert in Wired. Now a game called “Avoidance Training,” developed as a proof of concept by Rachel Knoll at the Royal College of Art in London, uses head movements and eye tracking technology to simulate this experience of desperately trying to avert the gaze – only you're in front of a computer, manipulating a blocky character with parodic elevator music being piped into the background.

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