Our Own Devices

Our Own Devices by Edward Tenner (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003)

In this unique book, Tenner discusses the history of “body technologies” – bottle-feeding, shoes, chairs, keyboards, eyeglasses, and helmets.  All of these relatively low-tech devices, which we all take for granted, in some way supplement our bodies. Tenner asserts that the use of these devices can change us both culturally and physically, which hearkens back to the theme of his previous book, “Why Things Bite Back.”  Although limited to specific examples, this book is about the design of everyday objects and how we interact with them.  The choices that designers make are only part of the picture;  economics, culture and user experience also play an important part in deciding if a technology succeeds.

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