EU funded (6th Framework programme) Network of Excellence Enactive (2003-2007)
The Enactive NoE in short
The general objective of the Network is the creation of a multidisciplinary organisation with the aim of structuring the research, at a European level, on a new generation of human-computer interfaces, or Enactive Interfaces.
Enactive Interfaces are related to a fundamental “interaction” concept which is not exploited by most of the existing technologies. Enactive knowledge is not simply multisensory mediated knowledge, but knowledge stored in the form of motor responses and acquired by the act of "doing". A typical example of enactive knowledge is constituted by the competence required by tasks such as typing, driving a car, dancing, playing a musical instrument, modelling objects from clay, which would be difficult to describe in an iconic or symbolic form. This type of knowledge transmission can be considered the most direct, in the sense that it is natural and intuitive, since it is based on the experience and on the perceptual responses to motor acts. The term "enactive knowledge" was first used by the famous cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, in opposition to the symbolic way of learning/knowledge (in which knowledge is stored as words, mathematical symbols or other symbol systems), and to the iconic knowledge which is stored in the form of visual images, such as diagrams and illustrations.
The driving concept of Enactive Interfaces is then the fundamental role of motor action for storing and acquiring knowledge (action driven interfaces). Enactive Interfaces are then capable of conveying and understanding gestures of the user, in order to provide an adequate response in perceptual terms. Enactive Interfaces can be considered a new step in the development of the human-computer interaction because they are characterised by a closed loop between the natural gestures of the user (efferent component of the system) and the perceptual modalities activated (afferent component).